Government has refused to renew the contracts of 3 000 qualified teachers engaged as contract workers.

The teachers have been on yearly contracts.

When the Daily News crew visited the Civil Service Commission (CSC) offices in Harare yesterday, dozens of teachers were following up on their applications after they were ignored by government.

Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira requested written questions on the dismissals. Her Education ministry counterpart Lazarus Dokora said he was on his annual vacation.

“Check from the ministry who is the acting minister to respond to that because I am on holiday,” Dokora said.

An official at the CSC headquarters in Harare said: “We were told to readmit only a few and the criterion that was used on whose contract will be renewed and whose will not, was based on the dates the teachers applied.

“Those who applied before October 31, 2015 had their contracts converted to indefinite while those who did so later and are in the majority, have no jobs.”

In a November 23, 2015 letter to the permanent secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Sylvia Utete-Masango, her Public Service counterpart Petty Sunguro “approved the conversion of some members’ employment contracts to pensionable conditions of service”.

“We have been told that we sent our applications late hence our contracts will not be replaced yet we used to apply at the end of the year after the contract expires,” one of the teachers who requested anonymity lamented.

“We were never informed about the new requirement and we do not know what to do.”

The “prodigal” educators were readmitted into government on stringent conditions, including being deployed in rural areas for two years before they become eligible for transfer to urban areas.

Scores of teachers abandoned the profession and sought “greener pastures” in neighbouring countries around 2007 and 2008.