HARARE – Govrnment’s teacher recruitment freeze could soon be lifted, deputy Labour minister Tapiwa Matangaidze told the National Assembly on this week.
He said the Civil Service Commission will move ahead with hirings following an outcry that the teacher-student ratio has gone through the roof.
In 2015, the then Public Service Commission announced that government had with immediate effect frozen recruitment and promotions in the civil service, as part of a staff rationalisation exercise in line with a Civil Service Report recommendations.
“There is definitely a rethink on that issue but all we need to do right now is to ascertain the vacancies which are there, approach Treasury to seek funding and should the funding be in place, definitely we will see movement in that regard and some recruitment coming through” Matangaidze said.
“However, the challenge right now is to assess the vacancy levels and to source the funding requirements,” he said.
MDC Binga South MP Joel Gabbuza had complained bitterly that at some schools, one teacher was teaching 80 children.
Gabbuza asked Matangaidze to indicate how long the survey will take and if it was not similar to that done by the Civil Service Commission.
“This particular exercise that I am referring to does not relate to the public service audit that was done,” Matangaidze replied.
“This now depends on the three ministries, firstly, the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, the ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services and the Finance and Economic Development. So it will not relate to the Public Service audit like I said.”
He added: “What we need coming through from the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is to establish where the vacancies are.
“Once the relevant ministry has done that and we, through the Public Service Commission, ascertain that indeed this is actually true, will then approach Treasury for funding.
“So, you will appreciate that this is a significantly lower route to take for a result to come through. The main challenge as it stands right now will be in assessing the funding so that these will be funded posts.”
MDC Warren Park MP Elias Mudzuri said the current teacher-student ratio was unconstitutional.
“It is not enough to tell this House that there is not enough funding for teachers when you have a student-teacher ratio which is not acceptable,” he complained.
“These children will not have a gap which they have to subsidise after they have already lost the time. Can the ministry take it as a Social Welfare ministry issue to ensure that is done yesterday?”
Matangaidze said: “I fully concur that this exercise that I am referring to should be done as quickly as possible and we will definitely implore on the ministries that we work with in this regard to make sure that all resources necessary are channelled in that direction.”