‘Civil service posts freeze hurts education sector’
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.