The Ministry of Education has disclosed that it will recruit 3,270 teachers from the Initial Primary Teacher Education (IPTE) 13 cohort in an effort to decongest classes in view of the Covid pandemic.
The ministry has indicated that the teachers will be recruited in 34 education districts in the country, with an initial contract of five months.
After five months, the ministry says the teachers’ contracts with school management committees will be subject to renewal depending on availability of funds.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Chikondi Chimala said the teachers were expected to start their work in February.
“It is true that the ministry has sourced funds to recruit 3,270 auxiliary teachers. These teachers are going to fill existing vacancies in primary schools across the country.
“We want to make sure that the teacher-to-student ratio is manageable so that everyone is protected [from Covid],” Chimala said.
He described the recruitment as an emergency and that the ministry expected that those interested in the work would signal their interest by Friday this week.
The ministry has also indicated that it is working at easing teacher shortages in the secondary school subsector.
Civil Society Education Coalition Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe said, for a start, the number of teachers to be recruited is good, but has blamed the government for recruiting them on the contract of five months.
“We know that the demand for teachers was as high yesterday as it is today, so you can’t get into an arrangement where teachers are recruited for just five months when we know that the demand has always been high,” Kondowe said.
He described the new arrangement as “very strange and frustrating” because, in case the new teachers’ contracts are not renewed after five months, then it would be as good as not having a clear agenda.
Kondowe indicated that the terms being introduced for the teachers were more frustrating.
“I am worried that, quite often, teachers are the last to be considered and terms which are given to the teachers are always pathetic. Why should this always be the case?” he queried.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.