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NAQEZ Raises Alarm Over Deteriorating Conditions of Rural Teachers

The National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) has expressed grave concern over the dire situation faced by teachers working in rural areas, highlighting issues of accommodation, allowances, and promotions.

Dr. Aaron Chansa, Executive Director of NAQEZ, has brought attention to the distressing conditions endured by many rural teachers, with a significant number lacking decent accommodation and being denied rural or remote hardship allowances.

Shockingly, reports indicate that some teachers are forced to reside in grass-thatched houses or even sleep in classrooms, reflecting a glaring neglect of their welfare.

In a statement, Dr. Chansa emphasized the urgency of addressing these challenges, particularly in light of Zambia’s upcoming 60th anniversary.

He stressed that such conditions not only undermine the dignity of teachers but also directly impact the quality of education provided to students in rural areas.

NAQEZ’s recent survey revealed discrepancies in the allocation of allowances, with funds intended for rural teachers often diverted to individuals serving in urban areas.

Furthermore, a concerning number of rural teachers have remained in acting positions for extended periods without substantive promotions, exacerbating their frustrations and disenchantment.

The organization warns that unless meaningful interventions are implemented, the perpetual migration of teachers from rural to urban areas will persist, perpetuating the cycle of educational disparity.

NAQEZ has called upon the government to prioritize the welfare of rural teachers by initiating a national housing project specifically tailored to their needs, independent of Constituency Development Funds (CDF).

Additionally, NAQEZ advocates for the Ministry of Education and the Teaching Service Commission to ensure equitable distribution of hardship allowances, with rural teachers entitled to a minimum of 35% of their basic salary. Expedited promotions for long-serving acting teachers are also urged to restore morale and motivation.

Recognizing the importance of connectivity in remote areas, NAQEZ calls for increased access to mobile phone and internet services through initiatives led by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In conclusion, NAQEZ emphasizes that teachers are the cornerstone of national development and asserts that substandard working conditions are unacceptable. Urgent action is required to rectify these injustices and safeguard the well-being of educators, as failure to do so undermines the nation’s educational progress and jeopardizes its future prosperity.

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