‘Civil ser­vice posts freeze hurts ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili Chron­i­cle Cor­re­spon­dent

TWO schools in Mata­bele­land North have each been op­er­at­ing with one teacher tak­ing Grades One to Six due to a Gov­ern­ment freeze on posts.

The Min­istry of Pri­mary and Se­condary Ed­u­ca­tion said the freeze on civil ser­vants posts was hurt­ing the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor and wors­en­ing plum­met­ing pass rates.

Mata­bele­land North pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion direc­tor Mrs Boithatelo Mn­guni said the short­age of teach­ers had re­sulted in most schools op­er­at­ing with skele­ton staff.

She said in un­der-de­vel­oped ar­eas such as Hwange District, they have two schools that are op­er­at­ing with one teacher per school.

“We have two schools in Hwange District that have been op­er­at­ing with a sin­gle teacher teach­ing Grades One to Six. If you close your eyes for a minute, you can imag­ine what is hap­pen­ing in those schools,” Mrs Mn­guni said with­out spec­i­fy­ing how long the schools have been op­er­at­ing with those teach­ers.

She said her Min­istry had iden­ti­fied teach­ers to fill the va­cant posts but they can­not em­ploy them due to Gov­ern­ment’s job freeze.

Mrs Mn­guni said the job freeze was also be­ing felt when a teacher dies say­ing no re­place­ments are en­gaged to take up their po­si­tions.

“We had iden­ti­fied teach­ers to fill va­cant posts. Some of them had left the coun­try to search for greener pas­tures dur­ing the 2008 pe­riod but we can­not re­cruit them be­cause of the job freeze.

“We’re hav­ing teach­ers that are dy­ing while in ser­vice and not be­ing re­placed. Even teach­ers who go for ma­ter­nity leave are not re­placed,” said Mrs Mn­guni.

She said it was detri­men­tal for pupils to go for a term with­out a teacher and called on the Gov­ern­ment to de­clare it a crit­i­cal sec­tor. Mrs Mn­guni said the prov­ince has ob­served that schools are strug­gling to com­plete their syl­labuses due to a short­age of teach­ers.

She said the prov­ince usu­ally con­ducts hol­i­day school camps to as­sist pupils in grasping concepts, but this year they ob­served that most schools are far from com­plet­ing their mod­ules.

Mrs Mn­guni said the prov­ince has re­sorted to con­fi­dence boost­ing for promis­ing pupils as a rem­edy for lost time.

“Chil­dren who are not con­fi­dent are not fit to write ex­am­i­na­tions.

“What we’re now do­ing is play­ing with their minds telling them that they will pass just to boost their con­fi­dence. And we’re hop­ing that we’re not go­ing to lose all the reg­is­tered chil­dren,” she said.

Her con­cerns come in the wake of the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion’s an­nounce­ment that Gov­ern­ment has with im­me­di­ate ef­fect frozen re­cruit­ments and pro­mo­tions in the civil ser­vice as part of its staff ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion ex­er­cise in line with rec­om­men­da­tions of the Civil Ser­vice Re­port of 2015. — @nqot­shili.

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