The Public Service Commission (PSC) has given the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture the green light to hire 19 732 temporary teachers this term following a Cabinet decision to that effect last week.
Earlier last month the PSC had ordered the ministry to stop hiring temporary teachers arguing that the prerogative was squarely on their shoulders while Treasury stopped all line ministries from recruiting.
At the beginning of this term, the government cancelled contracts for unqualified teachers, who make up the bulk of the staff complement in rural schools.
Public Service minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro told NewsDay in an interview that his ministry has since rescinded its initial position not to re-engage temporary teachers this term, pending communication from Treasury.
“At the end of each term, we actually do a survey and we know how many teachers are engaged in schools,” he said.
“We then write a letter to the Ministry of Education to that effect. We have since written to minister (David) Coltart so that he can engage 19 732 temporary teachers this term.”
Mukonoweshuro said the PSC received Treasury permission to re-engage temporary teachers.
“We got Treasury concurrence that temporary teachers should report for duty this term and we have also told the relevant ministry,” he said.
“There is no reason why some schools are still telling temporary teachers not to report for duty.”
The minister also reiterated that teachers in the service before were free to return to their jobs.
“Qualified teachers who were in the service but left the profession at the peak of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis were still free to return to their jobs and since they have appropriate qualifications, they are likely to get preference ahead of temporary teachers,” he said.
Contracts for temporary teachers expire at the end of each term and are renewed at the provincial education office at the beginning of each term.
But with the earlier directive from the Ministry of Finance, the teachers could not resume duties because their status had not been regularised.
Zimbabwe needs 120 000 teachers when the sector is operating at full throttle and, according to the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, there are currently 90 000 teachers, with the bulk being temporary staff.