By SIMON MUNTEMBA
OVER 3, 000 teachers who were recruited on replacement basis last year are not yet on payroll, the Professional Teachers Union of Zambia (PROTUZ) has said. PROTUZ, therefore, called on the new administration to urgently look into the matter.
In an interview, PROTUZ General Secretary Kangwa Musenge who welcomed the recruitment of more 1, 200 teachers by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) said there was need to put them on the payroll as soon as possible. “We welcome the 1, 200 recruited but we would also like those that were deployed last year on replacement to be on the payroll. The number is growing and it is high time they started getting paid. There are about 3, 000.
They, together with the 1, 200 should be on the payroll,” Mr Musenge said. He also claimed that the recruitment of the 1, 200 teachers was not transparent as it was politically-motivated. “The recruitment is a professional way of beefing up the pupil-teacher ratio and not political. Unfortunately, the recruitment of the 1, 200 teachers was highly politicised.
“We need to employ more teachers to deal with pupil-teacher ratio. Otherwise, the previous recruitment was characterised with political influence,” Mr Musenge said. Meanwhile, NAQEZ executive director Aaron Chansa said the recruitment of 1, 200 teachers was a drop in the ocean.
Mr Chansa said after failing to recruit teachers for the past two years and having more than 58, 000 unemployed teachers, it was very sad that Government could only employ 1, 200 teachers this year. He said in a statement that the recruitment of 1, 200 teachers was extremely insignificant because the exercise has left more than 56, 000 unemployed teachers more frustrated. “At a time when the ministry is losing more than 6, 500 teachers per year due to deaths, retirements and resignations, celebrating this recruitment would be insensitive to the serious shortages of teachers in the country, especially in rural areas.
“When the sector requires more than 45, 000 teachers, recruiting 1, 200 cannot be good by any measure,” Mr Chansa said. Going forward, he said, the ministry would require to have at least 10, 000 new teachers per year.
Mr Chansa however said NAQEZ was comforted by the assurance from Finance Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, that the 2022 national budget would have healthy funds for teacher recruitment and other issues which had afflicted teachers.