A PALTRY 7 000 teachers will be recruited this year out of the 50 000 that the Primary and Secondary Education ministry requested for last year to fill vacant teaching posts.
This means the country is facing a staggering 43 000 teacher deficit. The country is said to have at least 136 000 teachers in service.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima told Parliament on Thursday that recruitment of the 7 000 new teachers was currently underway.
“This year in our budget, we have been allocated 7 000 teachers that are going to be recruited apart from those that we are replacing for instance, those who retired, what we call attrition,” Mavima said.
“Last year we requested for 50 000 teachers to be recruited into the service and we were supposed to be given at least 10 000 teachers because of budgetary constraints.”
The shortage of teachers comes as government is embroiled in a labour dispute with educators over poor salaries and working conditions.
Teachers have also been quitting the profession in droves for the diaspora citing poor remuneration as their demands to be paid pre-October 2018 salaries of US$540 appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
“So we are working closely with the Public Service Commission to first recruit 2 500 to replace those teachers (who) have retired, those (who) have passed away or those (who) have resigned,” Mavima said.
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“Otherwise the 2 500 we are recruiting are already in the budget, but for the 7 000, we need to clear with Treasury so that at least we pay them.”
He added: “We have now said these districts should find trained teachers within the district so that we do not have the problem of teachers going there for just two months or three and then they seek transfer. If they recruit locally then teachers would stay.
“So, there is this general recruitment that is taking place where we are now targeting 7 000 teachers, but there is also the special dispensation that has been given to places such as Mbire, Gokwe South, Gokwe North and Binga to recruit locally so that teachers can be available in our schools.”
According to the Education ministry, the country has an establishment of 136 000 teachers. Teacher unions say this is not enough and estimate the country has a shortage of at least 50 000 teachers.