At least 13 000 teachers who hold non-teaching degrees and diplomas face an uncertain future after Government resolved not to renew their contracts arguing they are unqualified to teach. Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Professor Paul Mavhima said last Friday that Government was committed to employing competent personnel to maintain high standards of education.
He said non-teaching degreed teachers were lucky to be employed. He said such members would be engaged on a termly basis until a qualified teacher was found.
The deputy minister said those who deserted the profession during the hyper-inflation period in 2008 would be given one year contracts until they proved that they were committed to work.
“Non-teaching degree holders should not complain over this matter because we want trained teachers. Our first preference will be graduates from teachers’ colleges over university graduates. If there are any positions left that is when we can consider them,” said Prof Mavhima.
“Those with non-teaching degrees, if lucky to be employed, will be engaged on termly basis. Those who had deserted the profession during 2008 era will be given one year contracts until we are satisfied that there are committed. Last year we engaged over 13 000 teachers with non-teaching diplomas and degrees. This year we are not going to engage them before taking newly qualified (teachers) from teachers’ colleges.
“We do have a shortage of science and maths teachers but we will consider qualified teachers. Currently I don’t have figures of exact teachers that we need.”
Bulawayo Provincial Education Director Dan Moyo told the Chronicle that they would not recruit holders of non-teaching degrees and diplomas this term.
“We are not recruiting personnel with non-teaching degrees and diplomas. Those with degrees should do Post Graduate Certificate in Education in order to be considered as teachers. We will only consider them after recruiting qualified teachers,” said Moyo.
He said graduates who were not qualified to teach lacked necessary skills of teaching children despite having broad subject content.
The majority of teachers with non-graduate teaching degrees and diplomas had started applying for their contracts to be renewed.
Some applied last term but had not yet received a response from the Civil Service Commission.
Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director Boithatelo Mnguni said teachers with non-teaching degrees compromised the quality of education.
“People with degrees are no longer hot cakes as it used to be. We are taking graduates from teachers’ colleges. Graduates may have content but they must be trained in education.
“Not everyone can be a teacher. I once witnessed a case where a boiler maker was teaching Grade 5 students. He was frustrated and failing to teach. Would you want your child to be taught by a boiler maker? ”
Teachers’ unions are not happy with government’s decision.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Dr Takavafira Zhou appealed to Government to take holders of non-teaching degrees and diplomas for teachers training during holidays rather than to terminate their contracts.
A teacher at Masotsha High School who requested anonymity said the system was not favourable as most of the graduates had better qualifications than teachers.