NCHIMUNYA CHIDAKWA writes
ZAMBIA National Union of Teachers deputy general secretary David Banda has congratulated the teachers for their commitment and endurance throughout 2019 despite the harsh conditions of the economy and Challenges faced by the Ministry.
Mr Banda said 2019 was a year that was full of successes in terms of teacher performance, and commitment to the cause of the education in Zambia.
He said the teachers worked so hard to curb every act of malpractices during examination time.
In an interview with the Sun, Mr Bands said some of the teachers especially those in rural areas were faced with economic issues but still remained dedicated, which gave the union so much confidence that the performance in 2020 will be better provided that the government made conditions better.
“Our teachers worked so hard to ensure that they provide knowledge and skills for the children, and we know that the economy did not spare our teachers and in terms of examinations, they proved that they could run an examination free malpractice,
“Apart from that you will also notice that the year under review says that teachers got a 4% salary increase which was not easy to come by but has been eroded by raises in fuel, electricity traffics.
He said that translated into transport cost going up and that is the reason why we want to appeal to government to ensure that our workers the conditions of service are improved.
“We still have teachers in most areas of Zambia who deserve to get rural hardship allowances, who deserve to get double class allowances but because sometimes the system has not helped so much they have not been able to benefit from these conditions of service,
“You may also be aware that we still have schools which are running with very few teachers, the teacher pupil ratio especially in rural areas is an issue and that is the reason why we still want to appeal to government to employ more teachers in these areas,” said Mr Banda
Mr Banda said the union was aware that for it to improve quality according to sustainable development goals and that government must increase funding to the Ministry of Education.
It was only when there was increased funding that a number of activities would be attended to adequately.
However, Mr Banda said his union appreciated government for having reduced school fees for the children, which would enable parents to pay the fees.
He said it was also important that government ensured that there was sustainable release of funds.
“And to the teachers that were employed in August last year, the Ministry of Education requires you to put in your very best, to deliver education to our children,
“We expect these teachers to understand the code of conduct which is our guiding principle,” said Mr Banda
He said it was only when teachers fully understood their terms and conditions of service that they would be able to operate within the boundaries of what was required of them,
“And as education leaders, we would love to appeal that the action of children should be driving them as they join the ministry and as they learn how the ministry of education has been the key and corner stone of this country,” said Mr Banda
He said ZNUT welcomed the idea of production units in schools and many other policy changes that the Ministry was doing, because it believed that once they had a motivated teacher, productivity was going to be enhanced.
Further, he said the union noted that the previous year had one or two challenges that made life cumbersome and expected that things would be improvised especially in areas where they had not fared well as a union.