THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education requires at least 40 000 more teachers to address the critical manpower deficit in the education sector with science subjects and early childhood development (ECD) classes being the worst affected in terms of staff complement.
President Mnangagwa has directed that all qualified, but jobless teachers be employed. This was to enable schools to run smaller classes in line with Covid-19 mitigatory measures, and the jobless staff is estimated to be more than 15 000.
In January, the Public Service Commission (PSC) secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe said the commission was processing requests from ministries for the recruitment of more workers to fill vacant posts in the civil service.
This was after Ministries, particularly the Ministry of Education, had requested recruitment of more teachers. At least 12 000 teachers have been recruited in the two years as part of efforts by Government to address manpower shortage in the sector.
In an interview, Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Edgar Moyo said the figures were revised upwards following the need to reduce the number of learners in a classroom in compliance with health protocols of social distancing to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
“With current enrolment rate, we need more teachers to address the issue of deficit. We have employed about 12 000 teachers over the last two years, and now we are talking of 40 000 more that we require,” he said.
“This number has been revised upwards as a result of the need for social distancing in schools hence lower numbers in class and more teachers to take care of all pupils. The recruitment of teachers so that we have sufficient establishment is an ongoing exercise.”
Deputy Minister Moyo said they have since made a request to the Treasury for the recruitment of teachers. He, however, said the number of teachers to be recruited would depend on the availability of resources.
“The need for more teachers has been identified, but it is not just the need to recruit teachers without capacity. It is therefore important to note that our resource envelope can’t carry all that load at once otherwise we will have a serious economic shock,” he said.
“We have submitted our request to the Treasury and as resources become available, Treasury is going to be giving us what we require.”
Deputy Minister Moyo said the shortage of teachers for science and ECD classes was affecting the quality of education and its output.
“We need science teachers since we have introduced science, technology and innovation. We have enough teachers for arts. Appropriately qualified teachers are in short supply and when we talk of shortage of teachers we will be looking at those dynamics.,” he said.
Deputy Minister Moyo said since the syllabus of the ECD can now feed into the whole curriculum of the primary sector, more teachers trained in ECD are required in schools.
“In the primary sector we have a new module, which is ECD module, which used to be housed outside the school system. However, with the implementation of the Nziramasanga Commission on education and training, which was commissioned in 1999, the ECD module is now part of the school system,” he said.
“Our constitution recognises 14 indigenous languages and yet we don’t have enough teachers trained in those languages to teach at ECD level. Children should be taught in their mother tongue to build a strong foundation for their learning, but sadly we still have a huge deficit of teachers in the ECD module.”
Deputy Minister Moyo said while his Ministry fully supports the need for teachers to be remunerated sufficiently to ensure delivery of quality education to the nation, equally there is also need for them to also look at Government’s capacity to meet their demands.