AS an Education analyst, I would like to give a timeline of how the 30, 000 teachers will be recruited. My predictions in most cases are often right.
The intention of the UPND administration to employ 30, 000 teachers implies that Government wants to address all the needs in the education sector.
Zambian schools operated using the archaic MMD models which was designed to address a small population. The number of teachers at primary school is limited.
Over the years, populations in schools have exponentially increased. Schools that only had one stream now have five classes per grade. A lot of expansion have been done to accommodate the growing populations. Unfortunately, payroll vacancies for these schools have remained the same. To address these challenges, teachers have been poached from other schools, often in rural areas, to fill up the vacancies in the over populated schools.
They draw salaries from rural schools while working elsewhere. As a result, rural schools ended up having very few teachers.
Unfortunately, no new teachers were employed to replace them because there were no vacancies.
The Chiluba government built more primary than secondary schools. The PF government began upgrading some of these primary schools to secondary schools.
However, the new secondary schools were not given payroll vacancies for secondary schools. What this means is that the HoDs in these schools would never be confirmed and continue to draw salaries from elsewhere.
All teachers in these schools teach secondary classes while receiving salaries for Primary teachers.
Then there are old secondary schools that need twice the number of teachers. Their payrolls need to be expanded.
Note that the current constitution says that no retired teacher must be removed from the civil service payroll unless the retirement package is paid. These are also holding on to vacancies.
Before recruiting 30, 000 teachers, the following must happen which the Ministry of Education and Teaching Service Commission should sit down and look at critically.
Payroll vacancies in primary and secondary schools will be increased. Newly built schools as well as upgraded schools will be given payroll vacancies. All retired teachers will be removed from the payroll.
Once these places are created, all secondary school teachers who have upgraded will be moved to their right scale. All those who were acting will be confirmed. The gazetting of new schools and cleaning of the payroll system will create enough new spaces for all the 30, 000 teachers.
By recruiting 30, 000 teachers, the UPND is realigning the education system to meet the new needs in the modern era.
DR JOBBICKS KALUMBA,
Former Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Education.