EDUCATION Minister Douglas Syakalima says over K1.9 billion has been provided for in the 2022 national budget for the recruitment of 30,000 teachers, further urging applicants to use correct qualifications or risk being in trouble.

Rendering a ministerial statement, Friday, on the status of the recruitment of 30,000 teachers countrywide, Syakalima said the government would endeavour to continue recruiting teachers every year in order to improve the teacher-pupil ratio.

“Teacher recruitment will also reduce the number of unemployed teachers. As you may be aware, the country has about 60,864 registered teachers that are not employed. An analysis of the school structures and the payroll indicates that the ministry has a total of 104,448 teachers countrywide. However, with the additional number of schools that government has constructed, upgraded and gazetted without corresponding resources to operationalize them, the education sector at Early Childhood Education (ECE), primary and secondary levels still has a deficit of 115,066 teachers,” Sykalima said.

“This deficit has adversely affected the teacher-pupil ratio, especially in rural areas. In order to improve teacher-pupil ratio, government will endeavour to continue to recruit teachers every year. Let me hasten to mention that an amount of K1,994,817,600 has been provided for in the 2022 national budget for the recruitment of the 30,000 teachers.”

He said his ministry had constituted a multi-stakeholder technical committee to guide and manage the recruitment process.

“In order to be transparent in our recruitment process, my ministry, in November, 2021 constituted a multi-stakeholder technical committee to guide and manage the recruitment process. The technical committee comprised representatives from the following institutions: management development division, Cabinet office; Public Service Management Division; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Finance and National Planning; Teaching Service Commission; Teacher unions; Teaching Council of Zambia; Zambia Qualifications Authority; Examinations Council of Zambia; and Higher Education Authority,” he said.

“To further enhance the credibility of the process, the following institutions were engaged in the consultative process: Anti-Corruption Commission; Office of the President, special division; Smart Zambia Institute; Ministry of Labour and Social Security; and Zambia Postal Services Corporation. Written letters to district commissioners to play an oversight role of monitoring the entire process from the beginning to the end at district level have been dispatched.”

Syakalima said apart from the teachers to be recruited, the ministry would also operationalise promotional positions.

“Madam Speaker, the House may wish to note that 30,000 teachers will be recruited segregated as follows: 1,500 senior secondary school subject teachers; 26,597 primary school class teachers and junior secondary school subject teachers; and 1,903 early childhood education teachers. I wish to mention that apart from the teachers to be recruited, the ministry will also operationalise promotional positions as follows: three director and three assistant director positions for primary education, secondary education and curriculum development that despite being in the approved structure at head office which have not been operationalised; 129 positions for district education board secretaries and secondary school headteachers; positions for deputy headteachers, heads of departments, senior lecturers and education standard officers; 1,689 positions for teachers who have obtained degrees; 129 positions for primary school teachers that have upgraded their qualifications from certificate to diploma level; and seven positions for senior teachers,” he said.

Syakalima said the Teaching Service Commission would issue an advert in both print and electronic media this Tuesday.

“The House may wish to note that in accordance with the road map, the Teaching Service Commission will on Tuesday, 5th April, 2022, issue an advertisement in both print and electronic media inviting applications for the recruitment of 30,000 teachers. The recruitment process has been decentralized to the district level in line with government policy on decentralization. In this regard, applicants will be required to apply to the district education board secretaries’ offices in the districts where they wish to be employed through the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (Zampost). Upon receipt of the application, Zampost will send an SMS notification to the applicant as proof of receipt,” he said.

“The House may also wish to note that in order to allow for transparency, Zampost will capture all applications received and create a database. The database and the applications will be delivered to the district human resource management committees at the respective districts who will open and undertake the selection process. The rationale behind this requirement is to remove the human interaction and or intervention between the applicants and the staff involved in the processing of applications. This will further reduce the cases of nepotism and corruption. It is anticipated that the schedule of the successful candidates will be published on 4th May, 2022.”

Syakalima urged applicants to apply using the correct qualifications or risk being in trouble.

“Not many of the people who are called nurses, clinical officers and teachers qualify to be teachers or nurses. First of all, some of them do not even have grade 12 results. We have just busted into something with the Examination Council of Zambia, with the police. Some things are still under investigation. Those of you who would be applying for these 30,000 positions, please get the right papers. If you are not going to get the right papers, you are in trouble,” he said.

“Because I think things were let loose Madam Speaker that anybody, because you have been to college, you have got a diploma, a degree yet you do not have a grade 12 certificate because that is the beginning. You will kill the people if you become a nurse yet you don’t have a grade 12 certificate. You are not going to be a normal teacher if you don’t have a G12 certificate because that is the beginning. My appeal is that if you don’t have any of those, and you think that after you have completed your degree that is when you are going to rewrite your grade 12 you are in trouble.”

He added that there would be a clean up to check if the existing teachers qualified.

Syakalima said the government would try by all means to get the cancer of corruption out of the country.

“We will try by all means to make sure we get the cancer of corruption out of the country. It could be costly to fight corruption but it is better to fight corruption so that in future, future generations will benefit. Because it is better to fight corruption rather than to employ teachers who will destroy the school system or to employ a nurse, a medical practitioner who will destroy not only the institution, who will destroy the lives of our people because they forged a certificate for them to get into nursing. And this is not actually a joke Madam Speaker, we have busted into this because one person led us to the other person and agreed that yes we go and check. Yesterday I was receiving about 19 cases in health, 20 cases in our educational system. Now if this reigned in the whole country how many are we going to catch?” asked Syakalima.

“This is why I am saying that please if you don’t qualify, even if you have a diploma, a certificate, a degree check your grade 12 certificate. And I was informed by ECZ and the police that in order for a statement to be corrected, they were being charged K1,500 per subject in order for you to become a teacher or a nurse. So we are talking about a country which went into serious doldrums. To get ourselves out of this requires concerted efforts and that concerted efforts must be a national fight. We must understand that things went wrong.”