The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) appreciates the progress that government, through the Teaching Service Commission, has made towards the recruitment of the 30,000 teachers provided for in the 2022 education budget. More important, the announcement by government that the recruitment process will be decentralized gives us confidence that the process will be completed in good time. As ZANEC, our view is that decentralized recruitment of teachers is the hallmark of teacher retention in our schools. Our belief is that teachers must be recruited and deployed to schools that are as close to their place of residency as possible to mitigate against the prevailing housing crisis for teachers which encourages the migration of teachers deployed in rural areas back to urban areas. In other words, good practice requires that teachers are deployed to teach within the community they live in. As a result, in some countries teachers are recruited at school level. If a teacher attends interview at a school, the chances that they will stay at the school for a long time are high.
Furthermore, what has excited us the most are the measures that government has put in place to ensure that the recruitment process is transparent and free of corruption. We have learnt from the ministerial statement made today in Parliament by the Minister of Education Douglas Syakalima that apart from using Post Office Services for receiving applications, officers from Zambia Police, Anti-Corruption Commission and Drug Enforcement Commission will also be deployed to provide oversight in the recruitment process. This to us is very important because previous efforts to decentralize the teacher recruitment exercise to district level have been unsuccessful. The unfortunate trend has been that although the districts were able to do a good job in selecting the candidates, almost the entire proposed lists of teachers selected from the districts were replaced at national level.
ZANEC would like the deserving teachers to be recruited regardless of their status or where they are based. Specifically, we would like the Teaching Service Commission to consider the following when recruiting the 30,000 teachers.
- The need to bridge the current huge gap for Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers which is affecting performance in these subjects as evidenced from the 2021 grade 12 results.
- The need to allocate at least 10% of the teachers to early childhood education in order to scale up the annexing of ECE centers to existing primary schools.
- The need to ensure equitable distribution of teachers to understaffed schools in rural areas to ensure that priority is given to underserved schools.
- The need to give priority to qualified teachers who are already volunteering in respective schools as a way of appreciating the sacrifices they have been making and the experience they have acquired in the process.
I thank you and God bless you.
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