Government has reiterated its commitment to improving the delivery of quality education service so as to attain sustainable development.
Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education John Phiri said government has been focusing on increasing access to primary education for over a decade now.
Dr. Phiri said this is why government was applauded by the 2011 United Nation education for all summit for having attained 100 percent enrollment at primary school level.
He revealed that his ministry has established the teaching council as a result of a teaching profession bill that was passed in parliament earlier to make teachers distinguished and professional
Officiating at the world teachers day celebrations in Lusaka today, Dr. Phiri said the teaching council will among other things regulate the teaching profession and ensure that professional ethics among teachers are upheld.
He also disclosed that the shortage of science and mathematics teachers in the country was being addressed through the construction of the Robert Makasa University which will be officially opened next year.
Dr. Phiri said his ministry was currently upgrading teachers’ qualifications through the fast track programme at St. Eugene DMI University, University of Zambia, Zambia Open University and the University of Lusaka.
He added that this will ensure that in the long run, the minimum qualification for a teacher will be a diploma and later a degree.
And Dr. Phiri said government was aware of the challenges the teachers were facing especially those serving in the hard to reach areas.
He said teachers were facing challenges such as lack of electricity and water facilities, lack of adequate accommodation, training and research facilities and lack of teacher confirmation.
He disclosed that his ministry will enhance budgetary provisions for the procurement of teaching and learning materials including the ICT equipment in order to facilitate and promote e-learning and open distance learning.
Dr. Phiri however called on all teachers especially those in remote areas to discover the purpose for which they have been deployed there instead of focusing on the challenges they faced and condemning the environment.
And speaking at the same occasion, representative of the labour unions Cosmas Mukuka said the teachers’ day celebrations were important in that they brings teachers together to reflect on their contribution in society.
Mr. Mukuka, who is also Basic Education Teachers Union leader (BETUZ) also noted a number of positive strides have been made in the education sector.
He cited the introduction of the new curriculum, various schools built country wide and the teaching council as some of the development in the sector.
Meanwhile, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chief Programmes officer Brenda Muntemba said an education system was only as good as its teachers adding that teachers were essential to universal quality education.
She said teachers were central to shaping the minds and attitudes of the future generation to deal with new global challenges.