EDITORIAL COMMENT: Teacher recruitment good, but more openings remain

20 Jan, 2020 - 00:01 0 Views
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Teacher recruitment good, but more openings remain

The Chronicle

One thousand nine hundred and fifty-six people, trained as teachers in recent years but without jobs, will be deployed countrywide today.

They are in the first batch of 2 700 educators that will be employed in the next few months.  After the deployments of the 1 956, an additional 744 would be recruited also, likely soon, taking the total number of teachers to be employed in the first batch to 2 700 as promised.  Two thousand three hundred more would be employed as the year progresses, bringing the total number of educators to be employed this year to 5 000.

The teachers, recruited by the Public Service Commission (PSC) will serve in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education where 13 000 posts were said to be vacant before the employment of the 5 000 was approved in June last year.   

Matabeleland region will have 426 more teachers with Matabeleland South dominating with 293 teachers, Matabeleland North getting 133. There will be no deployments in the two metropolitan provinces of Bulawayo and Harare, possibly because there is no pressing need for new teachers in both areas.

Most of the professionals will be deployed to the most critical areas that include infant and Early Childhood Development (ECD) as well as secondary and A-level classes.

Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Mrs Tumisang Thabela said in a statement yesterday those whose names have been listed should report to their respective district education offices for deployment.

“This (notification of recruitment into service) serves to inform individuals listed below, that you have been appointed by the Public Service Commission to serve as teachers in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. You are advised to report to the indicated district office as soon as possible for deployment,” she said.

Manicaland province received 278 teachers while the three Mashonaland provinces will share 919.  A total of 271 teachers were deployed to Midlands province while Masvingo received the least at 61.

We quote acting provincial education director for Matabeleland North, Mr Jabulani Mpofu elsewhere in these pages today saying his office had received correspondence from their head office and will start deploying the teachers today.

“The communication was that every province is supposed to get 270 teachers and in our case the number is below that, which therefore means that we will get another allocation. We are starting the process of registration tomorrow (today),” he said.

It is good that the Government has moved to address the glaring staffing gaps in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.  The absence of teachers has hampered access to quality education for tens of thousands of pupils across the country.  As a result, many of the children are failing their public examinations having gone for years without the professional guidance of teachers or having to be taught in their scores by a lone, overworked teacher in composite classes.

It is noteworthy that some of the educators will serve in the infant and ECD classes, which are the formative stage of education at which a trained teacher is needed so that the kids can grasp foundational aspects of education delivered by a trained hand early on.  That is good.

We are also hopeful that another area that has been short of teachers will be served this time – that of science and mathematics subjects.  Teachers trained to teach in both areas are on demand in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.  As such our country has lost hundreds of them to these three countries in recent years, leaving a huge number of vacant posts at local schools.  The recruitment that is ongoing is thus an opportunity for the PSC to boost the numbers of science and mathematics teachers.  

While we are delighted that the Government is employing so many professionals this year, our delight is tempered by the fact that up to 8 000 vacancies will remain after the 5 000 are recruited. 

This means that tens of thousands of children will continue without teachers in some subjects.  This also means that some teachers in service will continue taking large composite classes, burdening them with too much work which adversely affects the quality of their output.  In addition, 8 000 vacancies mean 8 000 trained teachers out there without jobs that they desperately need.

Yes, we acknowledge that the Government does not have enough resources to employ as many teachers as it should and, more broadly, as many workers in other ministries as it should but we urge authorities to prioritise recruitment of teachers.  

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