Government on drive to recruit STEM teachers
Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]
GOVERNMENT is in the process of recruiting Science and Mathematics teachers to address the deficit in schools and close the existing gaps in the education sector, which have resulted in learners in some provinces going for long periods without stem teachers.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is recruiting teachers to teach Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology. Suitable candidates should have a Bachelor of Science in either Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics or Biology.
A post-graduate diploma in education and experience in teaching Advanced-level pupils is considered an advantage.
For years, schools particularly those in the periphery have experienced a serious shortage of Mathematics and Science teachers as some of them opt to leave the country upon completion of training.
Schools in rural Matabeleland have largely been affected by shortage of STEM teachers, a development that has been blamed for zero pass rates in Mathematics and Science subjects at some schools.
The low pass rate in Mathematics and Science has also seen fewer children enrolling at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).
To address the problem, Nust introduced the schools’ enrichment programme (Nustsep), an outreach programme targeting schools in Matabeleland region.
Government has in the past resorted to employing university graduates with no pedagogy training as a stop-gap measure to address the shortage of Mathematics and Science teachers.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development recently said it is targeting to train 5 000 Mathematics and Science teachers by 2025.
In her presentation at the 2022 pre-budget consultation meeting in October last year, former Primary and Secondary Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu said the education sector had a shortage of 50 000 teachers.
She described the teacher shortage as requiring urgent attention saying in 2022, the Treasury greenlighted the recruitment of 5 000 with the ministry proposing to employ 10 000.
Speaking during the National Assembly’s question and answer session earlier this year, Umzingwane MP Cde Levi Mayihlome said the shortage of science teachers was dire in Umzingwane district such that out of 45 vacancies, only two were filled up.
In an interview yesterday, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education communications and advocacy director Mr Taungana Ndoro said the shortage of science teachers was cutting across all the schools.
“We are recruiting science teachers to teach physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology. We are actively recruiting because we have a shortage of those teachers within some of our schools,” he said.
“We want to actively reach out to those with those qualifications to come forward to the ministry and we consider them for posting. This will help us in terms of our science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects so that we are able to also become industrious as a nation.”
Mr Ndoro could not immediately provide data on the number of teachers that the ministry intends to recruit.
“I don’t have the figures off hand, but it’s quite a challenge for our schools that are offering science subjects, particularly at Advanced level. This is why we have sought permission from the Public Service Commission to make sure that we recruit the teachers with qualifications in those areas,” he said.
“We are also actively considering those who did not train as teachers, but perhaps they have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics.
“Once we recruit them then we will make sure that they undergo the pedagogic programme which enables them to disseminate the knowledge that they have about physics to our pupils,” he said.
National Association of Secondary School Heads president Mr Arthur Maphosa said the shortage of STEM teachers is dire with some of the schools going for up to five years without teachers.
“It’s quite a dire situation and there are a number of schools where there is a shortage of science and mathematics teachers. It’s an SOS situation because for subjects such as physics, we have some schools that have been without teachers for up to five years,” he said. — @nqotshili