MINISTRY of Education permanent secretary Henry Tukombe has demanded more commitment and seriousness from teachers if Zambia is to produce quality students that can meaningfully contribute to economic development.
Speaking in Mufulira when he officially opened a workshop on teaching practice innovations, Mr Tukombe said it was sad that the Copperbelt Province, which used to produce good examination results in the past, was now lagging behind.
Mr Tukombe urged teachers to ‘put their house in order’ and concentrate on teaching pupils instead of engaging in activities that Government did not employ them for.
“We hear teachers are ward chairmen for political parties. We pay them and they do not teach. This has to stop,” he said.
He said it will no longer be “business as usual” for non-performers and that those that will fail to adapt to change will have to part company with the ministry.
“For us, it is not just a matter of producing pupils but what type of pupils are we producing?”
He said colleges have been training thousands of teachers and that Government has been employing them but that the training was not commensurate with the output, as could be seen by the results.
“We need commitment and seriousness if this sector is to move forward. We have to be accountable to the tax-payers, who are our pay masters out there,” he said.
And Mr Tukombe urged lecturers at colleges of education across the country to ensure they instil morals in student teachers.
He said Government does not want to hear stories that some teachers are in the forefront of abusing the very pupils that they are supposed to protect and mentor.
And a team of psychologists has been engaged by the provincial education office in Kasama to handle the case of alleged sex abuse at Kasama Girls Secondary School.
Kasama Central Member of Parliament Kelvin Sampa said in an interview that he has been informed by the provincial education office that the matter will now be handled at a professional level.
Meanwhile, the Teaching Council of Zambia has received over 125,000 applications for teacher practising certificates since June last year.
Speaking in an interview with the Sunday Mail yesterday, Teaching Council of Zambia registrar Ebby Mubanga said the registration process is expected to end by April this year.
“We have received about 126,000 across the country.
“We had anticipated about 100,000 forms and we reached that target by November 30, 2016,” he said.
Dr Mubanga said the council has started building the register and will publish the names of eligible teachers before the end of the first quarter and issue them with certificates.
Dr Mubanga said the teaching council is still considering applications and that those who have not applied still have an opportunity.
Meanwhile, Dr Mubanga has said the council will not tolerate any form of misconduct among teachers.