—Teachers in Itezhi Tezhi district have observed World Teachers Day under the theme ‘Unite for quality education for a better tomorrow’ with a strong call on government to provide safe clean water and sanitation facilities in schools.
In a speech during world teachers’ day observation held at Itezhi Tezhi Primary School yesterday, Zambia Nation Union of teachers (ZNUT) District Chairperson, Luckson Chibanga, complained that dirty drinking water is one of the biggest problems affecting good education in many rural schools in Itezhi Tezhi.
Mr Chibanga said due to lack of clean water and sanitation facilities, students and teachers alike are often unable to attend school due to illnesses related to unsafe water and sanitation facilities.
“It is unacceptable that teachers and pupils in rural areas are sharing water with animals in shallow wells when a new drilling rig bought with Constituency Development Funds (CDF) funds has been lying idle for almost a year at the civic centre,” Mr Chibanga said.
He observed that some schools have been closed down or threatened closure by health authorities due to lack of water and sanitation facilities.
Meanwhile, Mr Chibanga warned the teachers that teacher unions will not defend any teacher found engaging in examination malpractices.
He also appealed to government to expedite the teacher replacement exercise in order to improve teacher-pupil ration, adding that government should also send qualified teachers in three primary schools that have been upgraded to secondary schools in Itezhi Tezhi.
And Itezhi Tezhi District Commissioner, George Sichula, said government has built more than 30 classroom blocks using Constituency Development Funds (CDF) and funding from central government.
Mr Sichula said this shows government’s commitment to improving education infrastructure in order to improve the learning environment for pupils.
He said lack of proper infrastructure in some schools should not be an excuse for not providing quality education to children.
Mr Sichula also disclosed that three primary schools, namely Nansenga, Shimbuwambombo and Mbila were upgraded to secondary schools and stressed that this measure will improve access to secondary education and reduce distances to the secondary school situated in Itezhi Tezhi town.
And Itezhi Tezhi District Education Board Secretary, John Mose, cautioned teachers against examination malpractices in this year’s examinations.
Dr Mose said Itezhi Tezhi district has declared zero tolerance for examination malpractices and adequate measures have been put in place to ensure no such malpractices happen.
He stressed that any teacher found engaging in exam malpractices will not be forgiven.
Meanwhile, Provincial World Teachers’ Day organizing committee member, Emerson Mudenda Pukuma, asked government to recognise primary teachers’ diploma and degree qualifications.
He said that teachers with these qualifications are still lumped in scales of certificate holders because primary schools have no scales for teachers with such qualifications.
“Despite the role teachers play in national development teachers have not been motivated accordingly in that they have to struggle to get salary adjustments, teaching without quality teaching materials and in un conducive environments,” Mr Pukuma said.
This year’s event marks the 20th Anniversary of World Teachers’ Day, which also commemorates the adoption of the International Labour Organization/UNESCO recommendations concerning teachers in 1966.