The Zambian Minister of Education, Hon. Douglas Syakalima, MP, delivered an inspiring speech on October 4th, outlining the government’s commitment to improving the education sector and supporting teachers.
In his address to the nation, Minister Syakalima emphasized the importance of recognizing and appreciating the sacrifices made by teachers to ensure that every child has access to quality education, regardless of their background or location.
He stressed that teachers play a crucial role in shaping the future of the nation and deserve better working conditions and respect.
This year’s World Teachers’ Day theme is “The Teachers We Need for the Education We Want: The Global Imperative to Reverse the Teacher Shortage.” Minister Syakalima raised the critical question of whether Zambia has the dignified, motivated, and dedicated teachers needed to meet the global imperative.
The Minister highlighted that the New Dawn Government, which promised free education, has necessitated the need for more teachers.
He cited the recruitment of 30,496 teachers in 2022 and the ongoing recruitment of 4,500 teachers in 2023 as evidence of the government’s commitment to addressing the shortage of teachers.
Furthermore, the government plans to continue hiring teachers in the coming year. The goal is to balance teacher-pupil ratios by recruiting more than 80,000 new teachers.
Globally, there is a pressing need to recruit 44 million teachers by 2030 to meet universal primary and secondary education needs, with 15 million required in Sub-Saharan Africa. Minister Syakalima emphasized that this teacher deficit is not unique to Zambia.
The Minister also addressed teachers’ welfare, stating that the government is working to ensure that teachers with higher qualifications are placed in appropriate salary scales. However, he noted that higher qualifications alone do not guarantee promotions; teachers must demonstrate merit.
Additionally, the Ministry is examining the issue of teachers acting in higher positions for an extended period. There are also plans to gazette newly upgraded secondary schools for funding.
Highlighting achievements in the education sector during the New Dawn Administration, Minister Syakalima mentioned the production of educational materials for grades 8 to 12 through the Zambia Education Publishing House.
He also discussed plans to reform the public university system and the effort to provide desks to eliminate students sitting on the floor.
In conclusion, Minister Syakalima thanked the education sector for its dedication, particularly school health teachers who provide healthcare to sick learners in schools.
He emphasized the importance of health and nutrition in achieving quality education for all.
The Minister officially launched World Teachers’ Day and extended his blessings to all educators in Zambia, acknowledging their vital role in the nation’s development.
The government’s commitment to improving education and supporting teachers is evident in its actions and policy initiatives, demonstrating its dedication to providing quality education to all Zambian children.