'2 300 new teachers to start work by Sept'

HARARE - Primary and Secondary education minister Lazarus Dokora has said 2 300 new teachers are set to start work by September this year.

Government had frozen the recruitment of new workers, including teachers and nurses, but the move overburdened the employed few with heavy work load.

In an interview with the Daily News, Dokora said he was not worried about the funds to pay the teachers, considering government is currently struggling to pay civil servants, since he is not the employer.

“All I know is that in September new teachers will be going to schools. The budget and how they will be paid is up to the employer. I do not deal with those issues. I have been public to say I want 7 000 teachers but for now I have been allowed 2 300. Those will join the teaching force in the third term,” he said.

In June, Dokora told legislators that Treasury was yet to approve the recruitment of teachers, who were needed to complement subjects provided for in the new curriculum.

MDC legislator Eric Murai has expressed concern on how schools would cope with teaching new examinable subjects like Agriculture when there was no staff and teaching materials.

“Since last year, I have been requesting for a specific number of teachers, 7 000 in particular, but there is a government policy that I will be given 2 300 initially. I am waiting for the 2 300 to be released by the employer, the Public Service Commission. I am still waiting for such a decision to happen,” Dokora said back then.

“It is true . . . that agriculture has become part of the new curriculum of our nation from Grade Three onwards. It is also pertinent to note that it is not a case that is universal, that there are no teachers who are able to undertake that task. We have in the past indicated that the deployment of teachers we are making now relates to the specialisation that the teachers did go through during their college days. Further, we have collaboration with the ministry of Agriculture to ensure that there is wholesome and holistic treatment of this area of the new curriculum.”

Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira confirmed that the new teachers would start in the new term.

This comes as government is seeking assistance to fund the implementation of the new curriculum, as available resources will only be disbursed by year-end and to select disadvantaged rural schools.

Deputy Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavhima is on record saying while the contribution by churches in the education sector was great they should continue to chip in through teaching and learning resources.

Teachers unions have said the 2017 school year failed to kick-off smoothly as both teachers and school authorities struggled to implement curriculum.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said three quarters of the country’s schools do not have electricity and computers, making it difficult to implement the new curriculum.

PTUZ argued that the curriculum was not well-thought out and accused government of being opposed to the provision of equitable and quality education.

“A half-baked, constricted, arid, acidic and rigid curriculum has been introduced in 2017 without adequate resources, consultation and engagement of stakeholders,” the union said.

Among some of the additions to the curriculum is the non-formal education component which was recommended in the 1999 Nziramasanga Commission of Inquiry into education.

Parents have also been wondering if some of the additional learning materials being demanded such as traditional percussion musical instruments, mini-laptops and expensive coloured and plain bond paper were necessary.

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