MORE than 20 000 untrained teachers may become jobless next year as Government has finalised the documentation for standards, which recommends exclusion of unqualified personnel from schools, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Lazarus Dokora has said. Minister Dokora said vacancies left by the temporary teachers will be filled by trained teachers from three platforms — the Zimbabwe Open University, teacher training colleges and enhanced teacher education.
Untrained teachers, he said, should exploit either of the three to get qualifications. “These platforms that we have created can ensure that we have qualified teachers. The opportunity is now there. No one should sit in the education sector without any qualification,” he said.
The minister said the documentation of the Teacher Professional Standards (TPS) is part of the ministry’s efforts to improve the quality of education in the country. There was no proper supervision of standards in the education system, he said, resulting in some people masquerading as teachers when they never went to a teachers’ college.
“As soon as the TPS document comes into effect next year, the quality of teachers in schools should improve,” he said. “My ministry has finalised the TPS. The TPS documents are seven altogether and they have three descriptor domains which include the knowledge and understanding, skills and abilities and values,” Minister Dokora said during the official opening of Prestige High School in Cowdray Park on Thursday.
“The TPS documents for the headmasters, the teachers-in-charge and the heads of departments will be in use at the beginning of next year. It is my sincere belief that when these instruments become operational the delivery of quality education will improve.” He said the documents include the TPS handbook, training manual and four supervision instruments.
“The four supervision instruments include the report on the head, the report on the teacher in charge, the report on the head of department and the report on the teacher. The production of the TPS document is the first step towards professionalisation of the teaching career. “The documents are meant to improve the knowledge base, abilities and competences of teachers in the country, as well as their ability to understand and interpret the education curriculum,” said Minister Dokora.
He added that the TPS also equips the teachers with a better understanding of Zimbabwean culture as it is important to apply the ubuntu/hunhu philosophy in the classrooms, workshops and fields of practice. Minister Dokora expressed concern over unscrupulous, unregistered colleges that are undermining the integrity of the country’s education system.
“There is no proper supervision of standards and some teachers in those colleges have dubious qualifications. Such teachers are masquerading as qualified teachers yet they never went to any teachers’ colleges or universities of education. “The absence of formal schools in new residential areas such as Cowdray Park has created opportunities for fly by night colleges to sprout everywhere,” said Minister Dokora.
He said the opening of Prestige High School was welcome as Government was battling to close the school deficit of more than 2, 000. “It is a known fact that the Government alone can’t meet the national demand for schools, so more genuine players are most welcome. We have therefore come up with a school infrastructure development programme and we’re in the process of engaging infrastructure development.
“The new concept of school plan called cluster school will be a common feature in the country. This is an initiative intended to solve the shortage of schools in the country,” said Minister Dokora. The new school, he added, should be guided by the findings of the curriculum review process and the country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.
He said Cowdray Park, which has over 20 000 families was being served by one secondary school and needs four more. The ceremony was attended by senior government officials from different provinces, school heads and teachers and members of the community. Minister Dokora also handed over text books and study packs that were donated to the school by Turn Up Enterprises. herald