• This recruitment is an achievement towards the actualization of the right to education.
• Benefits of the teacher recruitment will be seen as soon as they are put on their payroll.
• There will be increased demand for goods and services.
The Provision of quality Education results from a range of factors such as available resources, curriculum, instructional leadership, as well as the individuals who teach in each classroom.
In turn, the staffing of teachers in schools is a product of both recruitment and retention practices.
Zambia’s education sector has for many years faced challenges that range from inadequate financial and human resources, poor quality of education and low progression rates, among others.
In a bid to improve the education system in public schools, Government through the 2022 national budget announced the recruitment of 30,000 teachers set at a cost of K1.7 billion.
However, Government has recruited an addition of 496 teachers in line with the staffing needs analysis of teachers and the funds appropriated to this recruitment, bringing the total number to 30,496 teachers across the country.
According to Education Minister Douglas Siakalima, government has allocated additional resources for the recruitment of more teachers selected from the 1, 877 candidates that are already in the database.
Several stakeholders in the education sector have described this recruitment as an important milestone, as it is the first of its kind in the history of the country.
This recruitment is expected to positively contribute towards improving the quality of education through the teacher-pupil ratio, which currently stands at 1:58 for primary schools and 1:38 for secondary schools, while the required standard ratio at primary is 1:45 and 1:35 for secondary school levels.
According to Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC), the recruitment of 30,496 teachers will translate into a significant reduction in the teacher-learner ratio which is likely to have a positive impact on progression rates and quality of service delivery which is a crucial aspect for attaining Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on quality education.
PMRC Acting Executive Director Sydney Mwamba said the allocation of 2,056 teachers towards early childhood education will enhance the cognitive foundation of children in literacy and numeracy skills while 25,736 teachers in primary education will help address the quality of basic education, whereas the 2,694 teachers recruited under secondary education will improve the knowledge of learners gained at primary level.
“This recruitment is an achievement towards the actualization of the right to education as espoused by the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Zambia has continued to make strides towards the commitment to fulfil its obligations as recommended by the United Nations Committee.”
“Additionally, investment in human development through sectors such as education is crucial for the attainment of economic transformation that Government envisages will propel economic growth, sustainability and job creation,” Mr. Mwamba said.
He noted that Government intends to recruit teachers over the next 5 years, and the recruitment of the 30,496 teachers will add to the already existing wage bill of 104,448 teachers countrywide.
“An analysis of the school structures and the payroll indicates that with the recruitment of the 30,496 teachers, the education sector at Early Childhood Education, Primary and Secondary levels will still have a deficit of about 84,570 teachers,” he stated.
For Zambian Empowerment Hub for Entrepreneurship and Skills Training (ZEHEST), Zambia is on track towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 4 on education following efforts to address challenges in the sector.
Organization Executive Director Clarence Muzyamba said the recruitment of 30,496 teachers across the country is an important milestone as it will positively contribute towards improving the quality of education through the pupil – teacher ratio.
“It is important to state that the recruitment process was surrounded by the Decentralization Policy of bottom- up approach. ZEHEST believes that there was adherence to integrity and aligning to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) mantra of ‘Leaving No One Behind,” Mr. Muzyamba said.
Apart from positively impacting service delivery in the education sector, the recruitment of over 30, 000 teachers will have a positive impact on the country’s economy because once the teachers are put on the pay roll, there will be increased demand for goods and services.
Economist Shabdin Mweemba explained to Money FM News in an interview that the trickle-down effect of this recruitment is very positive, as there will be immense economic benefits ranging from the increase in demand for cars, which will create business for car dealers in the country.
Mr. Mweemba noted that people selling food in various markets will also benefit because the teachers will need to buy food once they start drawing their salaries.
“It’s a positive impact of course because once those recruited teachers are put on the pay roll, it means that they will demand for goods and services, and there will be increased demand for those goods and services. For example, others have children and when they start working they will hire maids so they are going to create even further employment.”
“The demand for cars will increase, hence those who are selling cars will be in business, they will need to buy food, so those selling food at the market will also benefit. The trickle-down effect is very much positive; there will be immense benefits,” Mr. Mweemba noted.
He further said the banking sector will also greatly benefit as the new employees in the education sector will soon start receiving money in their bank accounts.
He stated that the money will go into the banking sector, and this may give this industry an advantage of giving more loans because of increased liquidity in the in the market.
“Benefits of the teacher recruitment will be seen as soon as they are put on their payroll and the start receiving money in their bank accounts. For now it’s just on paper but once they report and receive their first salary, the trickledown effect will start.”
“That money will go into the banking sector and the banking sector also has an advantage of even giving more loans and they are going to have billions of money in their accounts and the loans also are likely to come down because of increased liquidity,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mweemba stressed the need for the country to ramp up production in terms of food because the recruitment of teachers may trigger inflation.
“Our manufacturing base has to increase because it may actually trigger inflation in the sense that, the market players may increase their products and services because there will be more money in the economy, so we need to compensate that by increasing the productivity.”
The newly recruited teachers are expected to report for duty in September 2022, which is the third term of this academic year and will be put on the pay roll as soon as they report to their respective institutions.
of the 30,496 teachers recruited, 2,056 are for early childhood education, 25,736 have been assigned to primary education and 2,694 will be posted to secondary schools across the country, while less than 1% will be over 45 years old in September 2022, meaning that the teachers recruited are relatively youths and 196 are teachers living with disability.