THE National Action for Quality Education in Zambia has appealed to the government to seriously look into the plight of teachers in Luapula Province and the country as a whole.
Executive director Aaron Chansa last week visited Chipili, Mansa, Samfya and Milenge districts of Luapula Province to see for himself the real challenges teachers and the education sector were facing.
During the visit, Chansa bemoaned the inadequate number of desks in schools as some learners are still sitting on the floor while attending lessons, 56 years after Zambia gained political independence.
He said he was saddened at the acute staffing levels in most schools visited.
Chansa said it was impossible to deliver quality education in Luapula Province because of extremely poor teacher-pupil ratios in schools.
“In some situations, schools have two or three teachers including the head teacher and deputy head teacher teaching from grade one to seven,” Chansa noted. “The situation is worrying because administrators have to attend to both administrative duties as well as teaching double classes.”
He said staff accommodation was another issue that also attracted his attention.
Chansa said it had not shocked him that some teachers were still occupying grass-thatched houses.
He described the situation as not befitting teachers.
Chansa called on the government to build decent houses for teachers just as it had done for security personnel.
He said it was also discovered that some officers had been acting in managerial positions without being substantively confirmed for several years, some up to 10 years.
Chansa said “this in itself” was demotivating to officers and a recipe for insubordination from officers under their charge.
He however, was impressed with the fact that a good number of teachers had upgraded their qualifications at great personal cost so as to offer quality education.
Chansa said Luapula was now boasting of so many degree holders either in primary or secondary education.
He said some teachers had even gone up to acquiring masters and PhDs in various educational programmes.
Chansa, however, said most of the teachers complained of not being upgraded in new salary scales./