Another 3 000 new teaching posts have been created for State schools and recruitment will be completed as soon as all classes are open on March 22, taking the number of new teachers hired to cope with Covid-19 distancing rules to 8 300.
Classes have to be kept at a maximum of 35 pupils, a ratio of teachers to pupils that requires more staff.
The increase in staff is also in line with President Mnangagwa’s directive that all qualified but unemployed teachers be engaged to take advantage of the investments being made in teacher training to improve schooling.
The new 3 000 professionals will join the 5 300 recently engaged by the Government to cope with the smaller classes.
Of these, 2 300 were employed late last year while the paperwork for the other 3 000 was completed early this year.
“We are employing 3 000 more teachers soon so that they will start working during the first term. Covid-19 regulations require that we break classes into smaller groups of not more than 35, and to do that we have to employ more teachers.
“The President ordered that we should employ all qualified teachers. He said we cannot just be training teachers and not employing them. So with this recruitment we are implementing what was directed by the President,” said Minister Mathema.
Assessment of whether all teachers have returned to work after the Covid-19 pandemic will be done once the schools have reopened.
In some instances there are dishonest professionals who might have left the civil service but continue drawing their pay. These will be identified once classes have resumed.
“When schools have reopened we will be assessing those not reporting for duty to guide our deployment of those we are employing. There is a time frame for absenteeism and if we exceed that it means probably they will not be coming. But like I said we are still going to employ 3 000 soon and the assessment process will only assists us in terms of deployment of teachers,” said Minister Mathema.
Minister Mathema said his ministry will implement the policy position and implored all teachers to accept the jabs.
“It is a policy position and we will implement it, but we are not doing this alone. We are working with colleagues from the Ministry of Health and Child Care. We urge all teachers to be vaccinated. Experts have advised that it is safe and we encourage them to accept these vaccines.
“However, it is important to note that the vaccinations are voluntary and those willing should take. No one is forced to be vaccinated but like I said experts have told us that we are better off getting vaccinated to be able to respond to this virus,” said Minister Mathema.
School heads have welcomed the vaccination of teachers saying they are exposed to the virus since they interact with pupils from different places.
National Association of Secondary Heads president Mr Arthur Maposa and his National Association of Primary Heads counterpart Mrs Cynthia Khumalo both welcomed the decision.
They said their subordinates had inquired about their turn for vaccination which they felt was important prior to resumption of face to face classes.