By Alois Vinga
THE Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has called for the tightening of security at schools nationwide on the back of rising armed robbery cases reported lately.
Within the first two weeks after opening schools, robbers struck several learning centres nationwide. At one elite school, Lomagundi College robbers got away with an undisclosed amount of money, a motor vehicle and electronic gadgets.
In Gweru at Sacred Heart College, five robbers pounced on the private school getting away with US$15 886, laptops, club funds, staff’s personal cash and CCTV equipment.
At Ariel Primary School in Ruwa, six robbers broke into the premises on December 29 and stole cash and property.
Last year, some robbers attacked the Musengezi High School female dormitory ward and got away with two laptops.
Throughout the year, sporadic robbery incidents continued to be filed with the police indicating that the problem was affecting the country’s education system .
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com this week, PTUZ president, Takavafira Zhou, alluded the problem to school administrators’ continued defiance of government policies.
“The general lack of trust in ZWL and defying policy that spells out collection in currency comfortable to parents is chief among the causes of stocking cash in schools. These malpractices are exposing parents to double losses because some administrators also collect US$ and convert them to RTGs that they then send to the bank,” he said.
The teachers group leader said such robberies can only be minimised by educating administrators about financial etiquette, increasing security measures at schools including building secure storerooms and cash boxes and judiciously employing security guards.
“There is a need to diligently improve collective responsibility and security at any given place as robbers mostly operate with internal sympathisers,” Zhou said.
In a statement, the ZRP has since urged school authorities to bank all the monies collected promptly.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is concerned that some of these robbery cases are resulting from leakage of information. Members of the public are warned that those who provide inside information to robbery syndicates will be arrested. Police crack teams are firm on the ground and will pounce on armed robbery syndicates for the law to take its course in earnest,” the police said.