Teachers in limbo: ‘No teaching degree no classroom’
Oswell Moyo Chronicle Reporter
MORE than 13,000 teachers who are holders of non-teaching degrees and diplomas face an uncertain future after the government resolved to gradually not renew their contracts citing that they are not qualified for the classroom.The development comes at a time when schools are expected to open next week on Tuesday.
The Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Professor Paul Mavhima said the government was committed to employing competent personnel to maintain high standards of education.
He said non-teaching degreed teachers lucky to be employed would be engaged on a termly basis until a qualified teacher was found.
The deputy minister said those who deserted the profession during the hyper-inflation period in 2008 would be given one year contracts only, until they proved that they were committed to their work.
“Non-teaching degree holders should not complain over this matter because we want trained teachers. Our first preference will be graduates from teachers’ colleges over university graduates. If there are any positions left that is when we can consider them,” said Prof Mavhima.
“Those with non-teaching degrees if lucky to be employed will be engaged on termly basis. Those who had deserted the profession during 2008 era will be given one-year contracts until we are satisfied that there are committed.
“Last year we engaged over 13,000 teachers with non-teaching diplomas and degrees. This year we are not going to engage them before taking newly qualified from teachers’ colleges. We do have a shortage of Science and Maths teachers but we will consider qualified teachers. Currently, I don’t have figures of exact teachers that we need.”
Bulawayo Provincial Education Director Dan Moyo told the Chronicle yesterday they will not recruit holders of non-teaching degrees and diplomas this term.
“We are not recruiting personnel with non-teaching degrees and diplomas. Those with degrees should do Post Graduate Certificate in Education in order to be considered as teachers. We will only consider them after recruiting qualified teachers,” said Moyo.
He said graduates who were not qualified to teach lacked necessary skills of teaching children despite having broad subject content.
“Graduates may have subject content but they can’t put it across to children. They do not know the methodology of teaching because there are not teachers. Therefore, there is a need for graduates to consider doing Graduate Certificate in Education to secure employment.”
The majority of teachers with non-graduate teaching degrees and diplomas had started applying for their contracts to be renewed. Some applied last term but had not yet received a response from the Civil Service Commission.
Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director Boithatelo Mnguni said teachers with non- teaching degrees compromised the quality of education.
“People with degrees are no longer hot cakes as it used to be. We are taking graduates from teachers’ colleges. Graduates may have content but they must be trained in education. Not everyone can be a teacher. I once witnessed a case where a boilermaker was teaching Grade 5 students. He was frustrated and failing to teach. Would you want your child to be taught by a boiler maker? ”
Teachers unions are not happy with the government’s decision.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Dr Takavafira Zhou appealed to government to take holders of non- teaching degrees and diplomas for teachers training during holidays rather than to terminate their contracts.
A teacher at Masotsha High School who requested anonymity said this system was not favourable as most of the graduates had better qualifications than teachers.
“There is nothing wrong with an accountant teaching accounts at school because he is qualified to do that. Teaching is the mother of all professions. What they are doing is not fair to graduates considering that there is high unemployment rate,” he said.