AT least 1 350 primary and secondary school teachers have been recruited this term as Government seeks to improve the teacher to student ratio and ensure quality education through the implementation of the new curriculum.
The latest second round of recruitment is part of an exercise to add 3 000 teachers to the education sector, where the teacher to student ratio is estimated to be at an average of 1:120.
Government unlocked recruitment of teaching staff last year after a 2014 freeze that was meant to rationalise the civil service and cut its wage bill.
The unfreezing of teacher recruitments came amid reports that some classes had as many as 165 pupils.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Dr Tumisang Thabela told The Sunday Mail that, so far, over 2 600 teachers had been recruited.
“The ministry is working together with the Public Service Commission and last week (a fortnight ago), we recruited the second cohort of teachers.
“To date, a total 2 657 teachers have been recruited, leaving a balance of 343 from the initial allocation of 3 000 teachers that was approved by Treasury.
“The remaining cohort is set to be recruited soon,” she said.
Dr Thabela said there is a huge shortage of teachers in the country, hence the recruitment will reduce the teacher to pupil ratio. She said the absorption of more teachers in the education sector will facilitate implementation of the new school curriculum, which was rolled out in 2016.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association president and Apex council team leader Mr Richard Gundani welcomed the recruitment of the teachers.
“The move that the ministry, together with the commission, is taking in recruiting more teachers is a great development as the country is in short supply of qualified teachers,” he said.
“The most affected are the rural schools, where teachers are under pressure, yet their salary is low.
“Most teachers are migrating from rural areas to urban areas, which means that at the end of the day, students in urban areas will receive quality education.
“We encourage the Government not to apply austerity measures when it comes to education so that we keep maintaining the high standards in the sector,” he said
However, Mr Gundani said while they appreciate the current recruitment exercise, it still falls short as the country requires 10 000 more teachers.