The government yesterday said the criteria used in recruiting enumerators, including school teachers, for the forthcoming National Housing and Population Census have nothing to do with the recent teachers’ countrywide strike.
The clarification follows teachers’concern that the government didn’t recruit over 100,000 school teachers because they participated in the strike declared illegal by High Court.
“We reached the decision to give chance to other groups in the society to take part in this important exercise,” Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said in Parliament yesterday when responding to Chadema Special Seats MP Susan Lyimo during the 30-minute impromptu question and answer session to the PM.
“It is not true that we sidelined some of the teachers because they took part in the strike…we appreciate the role played by teachers in census and other important exercises, but this time we wanted to involve other groups as well,” he said.
The premier added: “We have Form Four, Six and university graduates who also want to take part in this important exercise and it should be clearly understood that only a few teachers will not take part in the exercise”.
Commenting on not including the question about ethnicity in the census questionnaire, the premier stated that the government was interested in fundamental issues, “so the issue of religion was seen as having nothing to do with the country’s development”.
“The current questionaire included only important aspects, that will help the government to plan accordingly,” the PM added, calling on people to actively take part in the exercise, which is slated for August 26, this year. But in a separate interview, Tanzania Teachers’ Union (TTU) deputy general secretary Ezekiah Oluoch said teachers whose names do not feature on the list of enumerators are exactly those who participated in the strike.
He argued that the government decision to leave out some teachers was unwise, claiming that it aimed to weaken the Union. He said before the strike, 150,000 teachers were picked as enumerators, but the number was reduced drastically after the strike.
Early this week, the government, through the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) Kassim Majaliwa clarified that the recent strike won’t disqualify teachers from supervising the census.