Ministry fails to recruit 5,000 new teachers; says budget eroded by inflation

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By Thandiwe Garusa

THE government has failed to recruit 5,000 new teachers after the budget allocation to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was eroded by inflation, Parliament heard this week.

Zimbabwe’s official inflation is currently one of the highest in the world at more than 200% while the local currency has devalued by over 40% since the start of the year.

While thousands of teaching graduates remain jobless, the primary and secondary education ministry is failing to plug a huge staffing gap at schools across the country.

The responsible minister Evelyn Ndlovu was challenged by MPs Wednesday about the absence of specialist teachers for children with learning disabilities who, legislators added, attend to school without getting any teaching.

In response the minister said; “We are running short of teachers in different schools.

“Our ministry is trying its best to secure qualified teachers to augment those that are already in schools,” primary and secondary education minister Evelyn Ndlovu told MPs on Wednesday.

“This morning, I engaged the ministry of labour regarding this particular situation”

Legislators then asked why the ministry was not recruiting from among the thousands of unemployed teaching graduates.

Honourable Sipho Makone

“I would like to find out where the problem is exactly because we have a lot of graduate teachers who are not employed,” said Honourable Sipho Makone.

“These are qualified teachers who are looking for jobs but cannot secure vacancies in schools despite the shortages that the Minister alluded to.”

The minister said although the department had been promised funding for 5,000 new teachers, the money been left inadequate due to runaway inflation.

“We were promised 5,000 teachers this year but because of inflation, we have managed to engage a small percentage of the required teachers.

“So, we hope that the supplementary budget will come as a panacea to our problem which will also allow us to look at the issue of salaries, to secure vehicles.

“The challenge is that our budgeted resources were affected by the hyperinflation, which culminated in government failing to remunerate teachers.”

Ndlovu also criticised a decision by Parliament to centralise recruitment of teachers saying this needed to be reversed.

“Parliament reversed decentralisation of the recruitment of teachers. This was done in a purported quest to curb corruption, and this is really affecting the ministry,” she said.

“I therefore implore this august House to consider intervening in this issue so that the recruitment of teachers is decentralised.

She added; “This morning my Ministry was discussing with the Minister of Labour regarding the deployment of teachers to schools in their respective areas of origin.

“There are a lot of trained teachers all over the country. For instance, if someone comes from Gokwe, then they should be deployed in schools in their local areas.

“The Ministry is therefore seized with the issue of coming up with a policy to address this anomaly.”