Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT) General Secretary Newman Bubala says the Ministry of Education should not change goal posts again on the pending recruitment of 30, 000 teachers.
In the 2022 National Budget Speech, Finance and National Planning Minister Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane announced the plan to hire 30, 000 teachers this year without specifying the month.
Earlier in January, the Ministry of Education suggested that the recruitment of teachers will be done in April.
However, there are fears among some stakeholders that the recruitment of teachers may be deferred again.
Mr. Bubala said postponing the teacher recruitment programme again will create mistrust.
He said unemployed teachers are desperate for jobs.
“In a system you create trust. To create trust is to stick to your words. The expectation was that recruitment will be done in January but nothing happened. You mention April then now the systems might start being doubted. So I think let’s just stand from what we have said and let us assure the people that if we have told them April. Let put in mechanism so that come April those to be recruited are recruited and to say they may postponed again I think that creates a lot of doubt and fears in the members that we may go back to the old challenges that we may not know who is being recruited,” Mr. Bubala said.
He said ZNUT is advocating for the efficient and proper recruitment of teachers.
“I think the unemployed teachers have waited for a long time and the desperation is there. But I would like to say the mechanism of recruitment is the concern. I think what I got from the Minister is that the reconstituted Teaching Service Commission together with the Ministry of Education are going to put the systems in place so that when the time of recruitment comes, all these concerns and all things will be put in place. So we wouldn’t like to have a situation where they rush into recruitment and then problems start.”
“You remember the challenges; some time you will find the teacher recruited but for months is not being paid. These are the reasons we don’t want to rush. The Treasury should be ready, everything should be ready so that immediately these teachers are recruited, rightly recruited then they can be put in the system and be paid at the same time. So we hope the Teaching Service Commission settles soon and when they settle down they use the same system. So two months, if they have waited for these years I am sure they can wait for another two months,” Mr. Bubala said.
Mr. Bubala further highlighted ZNUT’s expectations from the newly constituted Teaching Service Commission.
“It’s good for the new Commissioners to build from the previous ones left from. I think it is very important that positive things that were there which they will find documented I am talking about positives they should be worked on. The structures which were set which I think might be progressive. We hope and pray that the coming in Teaching Service Commission will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Education and define their roles very well so that there is no overlapping in terms of who does what,” he said.
“I think the Teaching Service Commission’s role is very clear and the Ministry of Education is very clear but sometimes we have situations where some people say they can’t transfer the other one say they can transfer (teachers). You see what I am trying to say so it could be where people are not sure. I think the Teaching Service Commission as an employer will clarify things that our role is the following and it ends here. The Ministry of Education role ends there so that we don’t have a situation where this was a teaching service, we have a situation where certain letters of appointment maybe were coming from the Ministry of Education. Others were coming from teaching service. If such kind of things were really there, these are things from the onset which must be put in place so that we start on a good note,” Mr. Bubala said.
He cited pending promotions and confirmations of teachers as some of the issues the new commissioners should prioritise.
”Being an employers, I think it’s an issue where they decentralise the system which came in, I think the previous group was going, was to tackle the issues of confirmation, the issues of promotions, the issues of which I think for me has to do with both Government, now being employer they should understand that a lot of schools need to be gazetted, a lot of schools established is still a challenge,” he said.
“What do we mean here? You see if a school from the time it was built those old schools if it was built under 30 that there will be 10 teachers in this school but the school has grown to 65 teachers but it remains under the same establishment that there shall be 10 teachers in this school, those other teachers who have come they will never be upgraded, they will never be promoted so the issue of establishment I think the Teaching Service Commission should work closely with the Ministry of Education and us labour leaders to say let the Ministry of Finance fund the establishment so that members can be confirmed,” Mr. Bubala said.