The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) is concerned with the media reports concerning the action that the Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ) is planning to take against the 3,000 teachers that are yet to get their practicing licenses. ZANEC is of the view that the proposal to prosecute teachers who are not registered by the Council, is rather too harsh despite being supported by the Teaching Profession Act, No. 5 of 2013. The prosecution of the erring teachers is also ill-timed given the negative impact that COVID 19 has had on the teaching profession. As you are aware, the education sector is among the many sectors that have been severely affected by COVID 19 following the closure of schools on 20th March, 2020.
First, the closure of schools immensely affected the incomes of most teachers especially in private schools following the policy directive by the Minister of General Education that suspended all school related charges for schools providing continuity of learning during the COVID 19 period. This policy pronouncement in turn reduced the prospects of generating income during the COVID 19 period among most schools thereby leading to most private schools failing to pay teachers’ salaries. As a result, teachers in private schools are facing a lot of economic hardships as most of them have had no income since schools closed. Similarly, a number of teachers in public schools are also currently highly indebted, mainly as a result of having over-borrowed from either the local banks or from the micro- finance lending institutions. Some of these teachers are also experiencing double deductions from both their payroll as well as from their banks on the same loans on account of the remittances that government is yet to make to the lending institutions.
It is on this basis that we would like to kindly appeal to the Teaching Council of Zambia to initiate dialogue with the Teacher Trade Unions so that they can find a more amicable way of ensuring that all teachers regularise their registration in line with the Law. ZANEC recognises the important role that TCZ has been playing in regulating the teaching profession in Zambia and ensuring that only licenced teachers are allowed to practice. We are therefore asking for TCZ to also consider extending the grace period for getting licences to give an opportunity for more teachers to comply with the legal requirement. Otherwise taking away 3,000 teachers from our limited pool of teachers will have a devastating impact on our education system.