Government in the process of recruiting 3 000 teachers

Government is in the process of recruiting 3 000 teachers to address manpower shortages which have badly impacted on the education sector, amid reports of rural schools having a teacher-to-pupil ratio of 1-120 or more. This has reportedly affected the quality of education and its outputs.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) froze the recruitment of teachers and other professionals in 2014 and the education sector, in particular, has been hard hit. Some teachers have complained of manning classes as big as 165 pupils.

The recruitment is also intended to facilitate implementation of a new curriculum introduced over a year ago by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

The curriculum places emphasis on practical subjects and a continuous assessment of pupils instead of judging them on the basis of a single end of year examination.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) froze recruitment in 2014 citing the need for staff rationalisation.

The Government recently gave a special dispensation to critical sectors, among them the teaching fraternity, to unfreeze some posts.

In a statement last Friday, Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Mrs Tumisang Thabela implored prospective teachers to register their names at their district education offices.

“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education will be carrying out a registration exercise for prospective teachers who will possibly fill in limited vacancies that are available for the 2019 financial year. Prospective candidates can register at their nearest district education offices from 2 January 2019 to 3 January 2019,” read the statement from Mrs Thabela.

She said prospective candidates should register only once.

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“Registration should be done at only one district upon production of the following documents; original teacher qualification certificates, original birth certificate, and original identity document. For the infant education module, applicants should provide proof of proficiency in the local languages (especially for formerly marginalised indigenous languages) spoken in the district of their choice.”

The ministry warned prospective teachers and stakeholders that it does not employ third parties or agents to carry out the registration exercise and that would only be done at district education offices.

In an interview yesterday, Mrs Thabela said the recruitment would be conducted across the country.

“The employer has given us the green-light to recruit at least 3 000 teachers. We are very excited with that because the recruitment will go a long way in reducing shortage of manpower that has continuously affected our Ministry,” said Mrs Thabela.

“We will obviously give more focus on critical areas like Early Child Development, new curriculum and new settlements,” said Mrs Thabela.

She said focus would also be on long marginalised indigenous languages like Kalanga, Tonga and Nambia.

Mrs Thabela said her Ministry was still reviewing the vacancy rate across the country.

“The recruitment will help us in a big way. I cannot give you, off the cuff, the vacancy rate but we are still working on it to establish where it leaves us,” said Mrs Thabela.

Government has not been recruiting teachers over the years citing limited fiscal space.

Teacher unions yesterday welcomed the planned recruitment of the 3 000 teachers saying this should go a long way in easing the workload for their members and the implementation of the new curriculum.

The unions, however, felt the figure was way too far below their estimated 18 000 teaching vacancies.

In an interview, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general, Mr Raymond Majongwe hailed Government saying it was one of the issues that they had raised when they met President Mnangagwa a fortnight ago.

“This was one of our demands when we met President Mnangagwa. So our view is that he has responded. We have teachers with a workload of about 110 pupils,” said Mr Majongwe.

He said the figure of 3 000 remained a far cry from the required staff complement given that Government was implementing a new curriculum.

“Our own calculation shows that we need a teaching establishment of about 19 000 teachers. It is not prudent to have trained teachers just seated otherwise they would need to be reskilled,” said Mr Majongwe. “The figure of 3 000 might just be enough for one province. So we urge the Government to employ more teachers for the good of the pupils.”

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer, Mr Sifiso Ndlovu, said recruitment of more teachers was a step in the right direction although the figure announced by the Ministry fell short of their expectations given the acute shortage of teaching staff.

He said the new curriculum required more teachers for it to be effectively implemented.

“The recruitment is a positive indication. It is a good starting point but it is not enough. To a large extent the figure will just help to replace those that have retired and those that have passed on. Our encouragement to Government is to go full throttle and recruit the right number given that there is a new curriculum,” said Mr Ndlovu.

Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union national coordinator, Mr Wonder Nyapokoto said the recruitment was long overdue.

“We believe that (recruitment) has been long overdue. The teacher-pupil ratio has risen to unacceptable level. In the rural areas where our members are, we have teacher-pupil ratios of 1 to 100 and in some instances a single teacher manning a class of 165 pupils. What has been happening is that an educator would not be attending to the specific needs of a learner,” said Mr Nyapokoto.

Government imposed a recruitment freeze citing lack of financial resources to meet salaries and other infrastructure such as class room blocks. It was revealed recently that more than 90 percent of recurrent expenditure goes to salaries for State employees, among them teachers.

In the latest National Budget announced by Finance and Economic Development minister Professor Mthuli Ncube in November, the Education ministry got the lion’s share of US$1,132 billion.

Source – Herald 

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