The Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ) has completed the registration process for all teachers who had applied for practicing licenses and that issuance of the practicing certificates shall start in two weeks time.

TCZ registrar Dr Ebby Mubanga disclosed this when he featured on a live programme on ZNBC, Saturday, explaining that it would now be criminal for teachers to be having interface with learners when they do not possess a practicing certificate.

Dr Mubanga also regretted that the Council experienced low compliance levels with teachers from private schools, saying most of them did not want to apply for the practicing licences.

“Now that we have completed the registration process, we shall no longer allow someone who is not registered to interface with a child because they will be breaching the teaching professional’s Act. Section 20 of the Teaching Profession’s Act states that ‘anyone that should interact with the child must be registered with the Teaching Council and must possess a practicing licence’. If they don’t do that, they would be taken to the police because it’s a crime to be interfacing with children without a license. It is also a crime for an employer to employ an unregistered teacher in their school,” Dr Mubanga explained.

“So when an unregistered teacher is taken to the police and they are found guilty, they will be charged with 300,000 penalty units or they will be imprisoned for three years or both. So this is a serious matter. So if we find anyone who is not registered teaching, we straight away take them to the police because it’s a crime. We wish also to announce to say all those teachers registered, there certificates are in. So we expect that every teacher should submit a copy of their certificate to the administrators and we expect to find a Teaching Council file at every institution.”

He noted that some teacher at private schools are not qualified to even register for a teaching practice certificate.

“But then comparatively, teachers from private learning institutions have not done well in terms of teacher registration as compared to those from public institutions. From the schools that we so far been inspected, some private schools were discovered to have a good number of unregistered teachers. Some of whom the highest academic qualification was just a grade nine certificate. It can be concluded that the main reason for non registration with TCZ by most of the teachers is lack of the necessary qualifications. But then the other reason is that some school administrators from both public and private schools have not taken a leading role at ensuring that teachers are registered, which is a very sad development. School administrators have a task to ensure that schools run effectively with qualified personnel,” said Dr Mubanga.

“Remember when we started in 2016, we came across about 700 teachers who were not actually qualified and those are no longer in the system. So by not having them in the system, we are protecting the interests of the learners. So as a teaching profession, we want to deal with teachers who are responsible and whom society can trust. We have heard issues of sexual molestation and other things, so once teachers are regulated and they adhere to the code of ethics and the teaching profession Act, certainly, teachers will not indulge in some of these vices.”