More than six pupils sent home for using phones at school

More than six pupils at Katete Girls Secondary School have been given transfers after being implicated in an issue concerning possession and use of a phone while in school.

The move has however, sparked complaints from parents of the affected pupils, who have accused school management of being unfair.

One of the parents, Due Phiri told Breeze News, that some of the affected pupils were innocent and should not have been punished harshly.

Mr. Phiri accused the administration of being insensitive as they also chased the pupils from school without giving them money to travel back to their homes.

He has appealed to government to intervene in the matter, stating that the hash disciplinary action will destroy the future of the pupils, who should have been given a lesser punishment since 6 of the affected pupils are in grade 12.

But Katete Girls Secondary School Head teacher, Titus Mbewe says that rules over the use of phones while at school are clear that any pupil who possesses or uses a phone will be given a forced transfer.

Mr. Mbewe says that all parents, who have pupils at the school, are well aware of these rules because they even signed agreements with the school administration.

He however, denied the complaint that the school administration bundled the affected pupils in a school mini-bus and dumped them at the bus station without giving them transport money to go back home.

Meanwhile the District Education Board Secretary’s office in Katete says it is not aware of the matter but will investigate to establish the truth.

Chief Kathumba gets tough on early marriages

Chief Kathumba of the Chewa People in Katete District has warned his people against marrying off girl children.

Speaking to ZANIS in Katete, Chief Kathumba says that it is worrying to note that child marriages have continued in the country despite several measures by government and its partners to end the practice.

He explained that after attending a Workshop hosted for Chiefs in Kitwe on Ending Child Marriages in February this year, he has vowed not to allow any person to marry off their children.

The Chief pointed out that in order to achieve this, he has established committees in all schools, which will validate and spearhead the program.

He added that from now onwards, any person who wants to marry or get married should present enough evidence of their age like a birth certificate to show that they were above the age of twenty.

Chief Kathumba explained that headmen will no longer be in charge of validating marriages as the committee will sit and advise on the intention presented to them.

He warned that in order to bring the practice to an end any person found acting to the contrary will be reported to the police and ensure that the courts of law puts out firm punishment on the perpetrator.

He further warned his subjects that any headman or woman found encouraging the practice will be stripped off their title.

In less than one month Chief Kathumba has managed to take back to school about 39 children, who fell impregnated or stopped school.


Not too late to collect inputs

The Ministry of Agriculture says that it is not too late for farmers to start getting inputs under the e-voucher system.

Chipata District Agriculture Coordinator, Michael Ngulube says that maize is not the only crop that farmers can use for the inputs.

Mr. Ngulube says that farmers can use the inputs to grow other crops including maize using irrigation farming.

He stated that government has been encouraging diversification so that farmers do not restrict themselves to growing maize.

Mr. Ngulube was speaking to Breeze News when reacting to concerns that the rain season is nearing the end and that there is no need to collect the inputs.

He explained that the e-voucher cards are still valid to farmers that would want to use the inputs to grow vegetables.


People advised against buying fuel from unlicensed dealers

The Energy Regulation Board ERB has advised people against buying fuel from unlicensed dealers.

ERB Director for Consumer and Public Affairs Agnes Phiri says that this is because it becomes difficult to follow up a complaint as illegal traders have no fixed abode.

Speaking during a live radio programme on Breeze FM, Ms. Phiri also advised motorists to be alert when fuelling up their vehicles at Service Stations to avoid being swindled.

And speaking during the same programme, ERB Engineer for Electricity Boyd Chilembo advised people against engaging untrained electricians to wire their houses, because such houses have ended up being gutted by fire due to poor workmanship.

Mr. Chilembo further explained that it is difficult for ERB to follow up such cases because untrained electricians are not licensed to carry out the works.

Meanwhile Mr. Chilembo and Mrs. Phiri will on Saturday witness the launching of a 48 kilo watts standalone solar power plant in Lundazi by National Technology Business Centre

Meanwhile the ERB, Energy Regulation Board has announced that there will be no adjustment of fuel prices.

In a statement availed to Breeze News, the board says that this is in line with the Cost-Plus Model that is currently used to set fuel prices.

The board says that the decision is also in line with the policy guidance at the last price adjustment that fuel prices shall be reviewed after every 60 days.

The statement states that the marginal price increase for the current consignment that would have been made is lower than 2.5 per cent, which is the minimum threshold for adjusting prices under the Cost-Plus Model.

It further states that although there is an indication that if the wholesale and pump prices are retained at current levels, there would be marginal losses, a price adjustment can only be implemented if the wholesale prices rose or reduced by more than 2.5 per cent.

Teachers unhappy with government’s delay to effect responsibility allowances.

The Zambia National Union of Teachers ZNUT in Chipata is disappointed with the failure by the Ministry of Education to effect responsibility allowances to the deserving teachers in the district.

District Chairperson, Isaac Ngoma says that most teachers were expectant that they would receive this allowance this month but indications are that this has not been done.

Mr. Ngoma says that the teachers in the district therefore, demand an explanation from the Ministry considering the fact that they have not been paid this allowance from the month of January.

He also says that ZNUT demands that the Ministry explains to the affected teachers the practical steps government will take to ensure that this allowance is paid.

Mr. Ngoma says that ZNUT finds it difficult to understand why this should be a problem every year.

He has strongly advised the Ministry that sluggishness in facilitating teachers allowances has potential to demotivate the general work force as they do not feel appreciated for all the hard work and this in turn may have an effect on learner performance

Mr. Ngoma says that this is because instead of the teachers spending more time in class to attend to learners, they will devote more hours making follow ups on such matters.

Responsibility allowance is paid to teachers who are diploma holders but are handling senior secondary school classes or those holding a primary school diploma but teaching in a secondary school