UPND Central Province youth chairman Milner Mwanakampwe says the government’s decision to recruit about 2,000 teachers out of 27,000 applicants is a mockery. Commenting on the recent teacher recruitment exercise where only 2,009 out of 27,000 applicants were recruited to teach in government schools, Mwanakampwe said that the number of teachers that would be deployed in public schools would not address the low staffing levels currently prevailing in government schools.
“It should be noted that the recruitment exercise was only targeted at teachers that graduated from 2015 going upwards. And for the Teaching Service Commission to receive 27,000 applicants, it means that there are more than 50,000 teachers that have graduated over the years but have not been recruited or swallowed in the public service. Further, the Patriotic Front government has been advocating job creation across sectors ever since the party came into power…the PF leadership has made some commitments on different fora that they would want to address the teacher deficit or low staffing levels in government schools by employing more teachers on a yearly basis,” Mwanakampwe said in an interview.
“It must be noted also that the current teacher-pupil ratio in these schools leaves much to be desired. It should also be noted that low staffing levels have the potential to compromise the quality of education among leaners. Consequently, it would not be wrong for me to state that the decision by the PF government to recruit a paltry 2,000 student teachers out of the 27,000 applicants is a mockery not only to the applicants and the Zambian people, but to the authority mandated to recruit government teachers. The just ended teacher recruitment exercise is not only a mockery but a bleading shame to the government. That’s my honesty opinion.”
Mwanakampwe said there was need for the government to employ mechanism to address the challenge of low staffing levels in government schools.
“What we would suggest is that the government should freeze the enrolment of students in colleges and universities that intend to pursue some education programmes so that students that have graduated over the years can be recruited and deployed to teach in government schools. Secondly, there’s need for the government to give grants to private schools that are employing teachers for sustainability purposes. Further, there’s need to give tax rebates to private schools just to cushion operation costs,” said Mwanakampwe. “And when recruiting teachers to be deployed in government schools, government should increase the number of student teachers being recruited from 2,000 to 5,000 per year.”