Government admits to teacher shortages

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ZIMBABWE has a shortage of 25 000 teachers, but only 5 000 will be recruited this year, leaving a shortfall of 20 000 educators.

In a statement, Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu said: “The Public Service Commission authorised 10 000 posts initially and reduced that number to 5 000 posts for the year 2022 with Treasury concurrence.

“Of the 5 000 posts, 3 904 have been filled and the balance of 1 096 will be filled in September 2022. In addition to this, another 1 454 attrition posts have since been filled.”

According to Ndlovu, the country has an establishment of 136 000 teachers.

Ndlovu said the teacher placement for the vacant posts will be concentrated in areas worst affected by lack of teachers citing the early childhood development level.

“We have taken the necessary precautions to place the majority of teachers at infant level from the allocation that is funded through the Treasury since January 2022,” Ndlovu said.

“Our deployment pattern takes into account the available vacancies in each district. We have, for instance, some districts in Harare and Bulawayo that have almost full complement of staff except for critical shortage areas while the majority of the districts in rural areas are experiencing an acute shortage of teachers, hence are prioritised,” she said.

The admission of the teacher shortage comes at a time when government is embroiled in a labour dispute with educators over poor working conditions.

Teachers have also been quitting the profession in droves citing poor remuneration.

They are demanding pre-October 2018 salaries of US$540, but Finance minister Mthuli Ncube this week said the country cannot afford to dollarise, saying the economy will collapse.

Teachers have since given a notice to embark on a week-long job stayaway starting on June 24 to demand better salaries.

Early this year, government suspended 1 220 teachers while 22 000 others including headmasters were put under investigation after they went on strike protesting poor salaries when schools opened for the first term.

Teacher unions led by the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, however, challenged the suspensions.

On Wednesday, the High Court nullified the suspensions.

Source – NewsDay