By NOEL IYOMBWA
GOVERNMENT has disclosed that Zambia has a deficit of 44, 834 teachers in public run schools.
Speaking in Lusaka on Friday when he met unemployed teachers, General Education Minister Dennis Wanchinga said Eastern Province has the highest shortage of teachers standing at over 9, 000 while Luapula Province has the least shortage teachers standing at about 800.
Meanwhile Dr. Wanchinga has also disclosed that many universities and colleges find it easy to offer education training but that the development has resulted in the accumulation of unemployed teachers.
Dr. Wanchinga explained that about 10, 000 prospective teachers graduate from universities and colleges on an annual basis thereby making it difficult for the ministry to handle.
He said this has also been complicated by the fact that there are more retired teachers who have retired but have been maintained on the government pay roll as they have not been cleared.
Dr Wanchinga disclosed that government will next month recruit more teachers.
He could however not specify the exact number of those who will be recruited.
He has since refuted reports that the ministry has been recruiting 3000 teachers annually saying the last recruitment was last done in 2018.
“Government is also considering to suspend the annual training of teachers in government run teacher training colleges as a way to slow down on the accumulation of unemployed teachers on the market,” he did.
And Dr. Wanchinga has observed that the high number of unemployed teachers is also due to the raising of retirement age of civil servants from 50 to 55 years which has seen many graduates not being recruited. He also expressed concern with high number of teaching colleges in the country.
The minister explained that his ministry will work with the ministry of Higher Education to curb substandard colleges in the country.
Dr Wanchinga further said that government has abolished daily placement of teachers. He explained that they will be done quarterly placement so that all organs are involved in the process.
And Director of Human resource Ignitious Daka has urged unemployed teachers not to fall prey to fraudsters who pretend to be employing teachers. He said that the affected teachers should report any person who request for money in the name of facilitating employment or transfer. Mr Daka said that government has constructed more schools but it is waiting for resources to employ teachers.
He disclosed that 1,441 teachers will retire this year creating employment for new teachers.
Meanwhile unemployed Teachers in the country have demanded for a fair teacher recruiting process and reverting to the old system of teacher recruitment where it was advertised publicly.