Sikhala said government should explain its position regarding pictures and videos circulating on social media showing schoolchildren engaging in mischief, which includes sex orgies and abuse of drugs.
He said the unruly behaviour was putting children’s lives in danger.
Sikhala asked: “I want to understand the reason why the government requested the opening of schools before solving the problems of teachers’ strike first. Mr Speaker Sir, I wonder whether the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education knows the level of moral decadence that is currently prevailing in boarding schools throughout the country where students are not going to school.”
Mathema initially evaded the question before he was pressed by MPs to address it.
“At schools, we do not expect any children or teachers to act or behave in an immoral way. All schools have school heads, the school administration is there, and the inspectors are there. We will do everything we can to protect the children. I am ready, and if any MP has that evidence, let them come to my office and show me and we will do the investigation.
“We will go out of our way to stop every criminal activity that may be taking place in schools. We are ready to listen to everybody, every parent, every guardian or community member; or adult and if you see any indecent activity by any child, please bring that information to my office,” Mathema said.
He then claimed that teachers were not on strike, despite numerous pronouncements by labour unions that they embarked on an industrial action citing incapacitation.
“Schools in the first place were closed not because somebody sat down and decided to close schools. Schools were closed like everywhere else in the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic, none of us created COVID-19.
“There was no teacher on strike before we opened schools. That is why we opened schools and we are doing it like any other country. Zimbabwe does not exist alone; it exists in the region and in the world. We did not instruct any teachers not to go to work,” Mathema responded much to the chagrin of Sikhala.
The Zengeza West MP then charged: “What I asked the minister is; what are government measures to control moral decadence currently happening in the schools? I want the answer on that one. We have got children at school.”
Mathema did not respond as the government continues to deny what it is happening in the countrys’ schools.
Earlier in the week, chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education, Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga interrogated secretary in the Primary and Secondary Education ministry, Tumisang Thabela over the same reports.