Govt in a fix over ECD teachers

HARARE – Government is in a fix over the fate of thousands of Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers churned out by primary teacher-training colleges.

This comes in the wake of pronouncements by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in the national budget that government can no longer afford to employ ECD teachers.

“Government recognises the complementary role that parents play in the ECD programmes. However, the takeover of management and financing of ECDs is clearly beyond government’s current capacity.

“It is proposed that, the pending requests to recruit an additional 5 907 teachers at ECD level be shelved and pave way for parents and communities to continue supporting the provision of ECD services.

“Parents and communities participation in supporting the provision of ECD schooling services will save the fiscus an additional $36 million in employment costs per annum,” Chinamasa said last Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a new curriculum review workshop on Wednesday, Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima suggested that government was now banking on the levies of private schools to sustain the teachers.

“We wanted certain additional (teachers) that we wanted (but for now) we are going to maintain the ones we have.

“As a ministry, we are coming up with a strategy to say the ones that we have in ECD, we deploy them in the schools that cannot afford to hire their own teachers, then the remaining balance we push them through the local appointments by those schools.

“For example Alex Park School can afford to employ two ECD teachers because their levies are such that they can do that. So we will use government resources, the ones we have, in less privileged places and get the schools that can afford to hire their own.

“And we are working on a program to rationalise but there won’t be any cuts,” Mavima said.