The Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ) has explained that applicants were required by law to pay registration fees before the Teaching Service Commission could consider them for recruitment.

And TCZ says the number of teachers found with forged certificates has shot to 743.

TCZ spokesperson Ngoza Malonga explained in a statement today that the teaching council only fostered professionalism in teachers and provided for accreditation of colleges, while the employer was the Teaching Service Commission.

“TCZ is concerned with some comments being expressed by some stakeholders in society over the recent 2017 teacher recruitment. As Teaching Council of Zambia we wish to clarify issues that have been topics of intense discussion in the media. Firstly, TCZ must be separated from the teacher recruitment exercise as it is not an employer and therefore not mandated to recruit teachers. This is a mandate of the Teaching Service Commission which is the employer of teachers in the Public sectors. To the contrary, the mandate of TCZ, as provided for by the Teaching Profession Act No. 5 of 2013, is to regulate the teachers, their practice and professional conduct from both the public and private sectors. Furthermore, the mandate of TCZ is to provide for the accreditation of all colleges of education,” she stated.

“The Ministry of General Education issued an advertisement for teacher recruitment with one of the requirements being registration of applicants with TCZ, pursuant to section 26 sub (1) (a) of the Teaching Profession Act No. 5 of 2013 which states that: ‘A person shall not, unless the person is registered as a teacher and holds a practicing certificate under this Act’ – practice as, be employed as, offer teaching services as, or hold out to be, a teacher’. Further, section 10 (1) of the said Act indicates that:‘A person shall apply to the Council for registration as a teacher in the prescribed manner and form upon payment of the prescribed fee’,” she stated.

She said the registration fee was not a guarantee for applicants to be considered.

“This means that TCZ did not in any way charge applicants fees to enable them qualify for the teacher recruitment but the money applicants paid to TCZ was for purposes of teacher registration. It is a one off payment, suffice to mention that what follows is the payment of a practicing certificate pursuant to section 15 which equally states that ‘a teacher shall apply to the Council for a Practicing Certificate in the prescribed manner and form upon payment of the prescribed fees.’ In Zambia, teacher registration is law. There was no illegality what so ever to what happened before the teacher recruitment exercise in terms of payment of fees as this is provided for in the law. The practicing Certificate is renewable after three years for any teacher.”

And Mulonga stated that 743 teachers had been found with forged certificates during the teacher registration process.

“We wish to update members of the public regarding the qualification verification for teacher registration. In September this year, 498 applicants were found to have presented forged certificates to support their teacher registration application. Since teacher registration is an on-going process, in October, the number of those with forged certificates shot up to 641. This was from the serving teachers from both public and private schools. Within the same month of October, 2017 more applicants tendered their applications for teacher registration and by coincidence these were also applying for teacher recruitment as announced by the Ministry of General Education. Interestingly, 102 applicants presented forged certificates from the verification exercise facilitated by the Examination Council of Zambia. At the moment, a total of 743 applicants have been found to have presented forged certificates which were either academic or professional qualifications,” she stated.

Malonga further urged the public to engage the teaching council on any matter of concern in order to get correct information.

“In order to bring sanity in the Teaching Profession, the Teaching Council of Zambia will scrutinise all teacher registration applicants so that only rightly qualified people are employed. It is in this regard that we wish to advise stakeholders, teachers and the general public to engage the Teaching Council of Zambia on any matter of interest to them. Its important to get the right picture and appreciate the rationale behind the establishment of the regulatory body for the teaching profession,” stated Malonga.