—Teacher unions in Eastern Province have expressed scepticism on the pronouncement by government to recruit retired teachers to cushion the shortage of staff throughout the country.
Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT) Eastern Province Chairperson, Alakwisa Phiri, says the decision by government to recruit retired teachers will not be a lasting solution to the problem.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Chipata today Mr Phiri said government should exhaust all the trained personnel by employing them and also improving its recruitment system and the number of training institutions.
Mr Phiri disclosed that currently there are a lot of trained teachers that are still waiting to be employed by government, hence engaging teachers that have retired will be unfair on them.
He said since government is promoting youth employment in the country, the recruitment of retired teachers will deny qualified youths a chance of getting jobs.
He expressed sadness that some teachers, who graduated as far as 2010, are still in the streets and have not yet been employed by the government.
Mr Phiri said the situation will impact negatively on the education standards especially in rural areas where the teacher-pupil ratio is still high.
He has since advised government to reduce the number of years for training primary school teachers from three to two years through reducing the bulk content of the course and expand and improve the existing infrastructures to take up more students.
Recently, Ministry of Education acting Chief Human Resources Management officer Stephen Siame, disclosed that the Ministry of Education will recruit retired teachers to cushion the shortage of staff country-wide.
Mr Siame said the country is in dire need of more teachers, adding that teacher training colleges have failed to meet 5,000 net recruitment that has been put as a target for the ministry.
The recruited retirees, who must be below 65 years and have not served in administration, will be given a three year contract.