Serious allegations have surfaced in Kwekwe, where a well organised criminal syndicate, of seemingly professional teachers, at Fitchlea Primary School, is targeting desperate parents.
The teachers are demanding payment from parents, ostensibly, for airtime and data bundles.
The teachers are also demanding payment for extra lessons and homework through a sophisticated scam that uses extortion and blackmail to enrich members of the Fitchlea mafia type syndicate. It has become obligatory for teachers to incessantly coerce parents to give spending money to their children in order to support the teachers’ enterprise.
It has become an accepted custom at Fitchlea Primary School for teachers to peddle their wares like sweets biscuits and crisps to their students during class, lunch and break time.
School authorities have turned a blind eye to these irregularities, further emboldening the cartel to operate without any restraint.
Teachers supposedly claim they are not able to send home work to their students and conduct extra lessons after hours, during the course of week, COVID 19 lockdowns and holidays. It is now preferable for teachersto distribute school work to parents and students via social media than in their school books. As a result, the syndicate coerces parents to join their respective Whats App groups administered by their children’s class teacher on the pretence of improving teacher- parent communication.
Parents who fail to give in to the cartel’s demands are not be able to access their children’s homework until payment is received by the teacher. The teachers purportedly discriminate against students whose parents elect not, to subscribe to their Whatspp group.
The unauthorized demands on payment by the criminal collective are regardless of the fact that parents are paying tuition fees to the school.
As a consequence, the resulting discrimination adversely affects the learning development of the targeted students.
Class teachers then allegedly cite slow learners and furnish evidence of their low
performance to their parents to prove the need for homework and unofficial paid supplementary studies.
Criminal psychologists interviewed warned that these teachers are implementing psychosomatic tactics to convince and coerce parents to part with their hard earned money for an ostensibly noble cause.
The teachers are, nevertheless, accepting payment from targeted parents in foreign and local currencies.
The suspected extortionists and blackmailers charge between USD 10 to USD 20 per student.
The Fitchlea Primary School Mafia also accepts electronic funds transfers through Zipit,
Zapper, Zimswitch and mobile electronic wallets. Rough estimates indicated that individual Fitchlea Primary School teachers are fleecing approximately USD $600 a month each from targeted and distressed parents. This is in addition to their monthly official salary.
Parents interviewed confirmed, on condition of anonymity, for fear of victimisation, that teachers are indeed demanding unofficial payment for their services. Many, if not all, parents
with children at Fitchlea primary school are victims to the swindle.
Inquiries on the on-going scam confirmed that it is illegal for Fitchlea teachers to extort money from parents for their professional services. The District School Directorate issued a circular abolishing extra lessons in the first quarter of 2020.
Nevertheless, there is no record of disciplinary deterrents or legal persecution of teachers
who conduct extra lessons or demand unofficial payment from parents in the conduct of their professional services. Parents affected observed that responsible authorities have turned a blind eye to these kind of scams further emboldening the felons.
At the time of writing, concerned parents initiated the process of engaging anti –graft organisations in their effort to uproot the alleged rot and corruption at Fitchlea primary claiming that additional evidence of the crimes committed are reflected in the teachers’ and parents’ mobile transfer and WhatsApp records.
Efforts to get an official response from school authorities were unsuccessful.
Article obtained from *The Voice ©*