The Unemployed Teachers Association of Zambia (UTAZ) has commended the move by the government to employ 4,500 teachers as stated in the 2023 national budget presentation by the Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane.
Unemployed Teachers Association of Zambia President Francis Musonda highlighted in a statement issued to Lusaka Times that following the announcement by the Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane on the floor of the house during the 2023 National Budget presentation to recruit 4,500 teachers in 2023, on behalf of the Association and all the 70,000+ Unemployed Teachers, the recruitment of this additional 4,500 teachers next year, not only will it provide employment to the destitute majority unemployed teachers but it will improve their lives and also supplement the positives brought by the historical 30,496 recruitment.
“Allow me to thank and recognize the endless efforts the new dawn government has continued rendering towards the education sector,” Mr Musonda said
“It is undoubted that as a country we still have a long way to go to balance up the pathetic teacher-pupil ratio characterise especially by the introduction of free Education from grade 1 to 12 early this year,” Mr Musonda added
Mr Musonda cited that the country may wish to note that the desired teacher-pupil ratio in public schools is 1:40 for primary and 1:30 for Secondary respectively but the current teacher-pupil ratio is still a huge concern.
“Nonetheless, with these efforts by the government we are hoping that soon this song will be a thing of the past,” he stated
Mr Musonda has acknowledged the government’s effort towards improving the quality of education through the provision of school materials and furniture such as desks and other necessary materials, stating that this move should be a continuous process, especially in rural areas.
Mr Musonda has appealed to the government to see to it that the recruitment is done in the first quarter of 2023 and if possible, all these Teachers be sent to remote areas where the need is so high.
Mr Musonda has since called on his fellow Unemployed Teachers Association of Zambia members, to remain steadfast and encouraged, especially for those that have stayed for a long time after graduation without being employed to consider taking up some voluntary work between now and next year as this will help them refresh their brains and skills so that as they get to be employed next year, they would have been rebooted and be able to deliver up to their expected standards.
Last week, Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane announced in the National Assembly during the 2023 National Budget address that the government will continue to implement measures to improve the quality of education. To this end, an additional 4,500 teachers will be recruited in 2023. Priority for the deployment of these teachers will be given to rural areas which are more deprived.
Further, the government will upgrade teachers who are currently serving in positions that are lower than their qualifications, including those who have been acting in higher positions for a long time without confirmation.
Mr Musokotwane added that while the government has made some headway in teacher availability, challenges remain in the sector. The problem of teachers shunning remote areas and earning salaries designated for remote schools while actually not being there is real.
Finally, many of the schools are not adequately supervised and inspected to ensure adherence to standards. In 2023, the government is providing money specifically for ensuring, without fail, that schools are visited by standards compliance personnel.
And to increase access to education, the government will next year complete the construction of 56 Early Childhood Education Centers, there are many high schools, some going as far back as 2010, which were abandoned midstream in the past twelve years, and the government will embark on completing them in 2023, 115 secondary schools in total. Further, the government will commence the construction of 120 new secondary schools with the support of the World Bank.