DRUNKEN teachers nursing hang-overs from a heavy drink-up the previous day almost beat up their head teacher on Monday morning when he went to their homes asking them to report for work at Simaundu Primary School in Chirundu district.
Head teacher Sylvester Hakalinda, was forced to send all the pupils back home around 08:00 hours so he could deal with his drunken teachers with whom he, ironically, had enjoyed a beer drinking spree on Sunday.
As the children celebrated the surprise early ‘gift’ from their head teacher irate parents of Simaundu village in Mushungu Ward took their anger to the district education board secretary (DEBS) Veronica Mubanga’s office.
And the DEBS immediately swung into action, mobilising officials from the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and the town council to help her handle the culprits.
Mubanga then rushed to the school and ordered that the teachers be tested for alcohol.
All of them except the head teacher were found with alcohol in their system, far above the legally allowed level.
Unhappy about the teachers’ indiscipline the parents said enough was enough.
They accused the civil servants of abusing alcohol and absconding from their duties with impunity for a long time.
One of the parents, Boniface Nsambilo, angrily narrated that the behaviour of the teachers, including the head teacher, was unacceptable.
“The teachers who had been drinking beer with the head teacher, today wanted to beat him up after he followed them to their homes,” Nsamilo said.
He said a heated argument ensued between the teachers and their head teacher and they wanted to beat him up forcing him to send the children away so that he could deal with them out of their sight.
Nsamilo said most parents were struggling to meet school requirements for their children but when they sent them to school the pupils were not being properly taught as they missed most of the lessons.
“Children of Simaundu are not performing very well due to teachers’ negligence, among other reasons,” he said.
The DEBS said the reports were “very true”.
Mubanga said her office had already received the report on the matter and taken action by engaging the Chirundu Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) manager, Mkuzo Ngwane, and asked for a breathalyser machine to help test the drunken teachers.
She was sad that the teachers were exhibiting negative behaviour when they were expected to be role models to the children.
Mubanga said she had been receiving numerous complaints from the community and could not be lenient anymore.
She said the head teacher was very lucky that he was sober that particular day, otherwise he could have been the one to be disciplined because some community members were threatening to protest at her office.
Mubanga was accompanied by the Chirundu Town Council secretary John Mwanza and chairman Robinson Sianduba.
They drove to Simaundu Primary School leaving the press behind for fear that the process might be compromised.
Mushungu Ward councillor Ben Munsaka named the head teacher as Mr Sylvester Hakalinda and the teachers as Choolwe Chijoka, Golden Aongola and Tapman Simuzagwi.
Mr Munsaka said the three tested positive for alcohol while the head teacher tested negative, but wondered why because they all had been drinking beer together in the community.
Credit: LILLIAN CHIKANDI/The Zambian Sun