A LOCAL teachers’ union has warned of a possible collapse in education standards as it emerged that the government employs about 20,000 unqualified teachers, nearly a fifth of the full teaching establishment in primary and secondary schools.
The ministry of education has struggled to fill the staffing gap after thousands of teachers left the country, along with, possibly, a million other Zimbabweans to escape the economic which peaked in 2008.
The government has recruited unqualified teachers to fill the gap and these now top 20,000, according to data released by the education ministry last Friday.
“A total of 10 341 are unqualified to teach at primary level, while secondary schools account for 11 519,” said the ministry.
“Matabeleland North province, at primary level, has the highest number of unqualified teachers, recording 1,953 against a total of 4,793 followed by Mashonaland Central with 1,853 unqualified teachers against 4,579 qualified teachers followed by Mashonaland West and Midlands respectively.
“Masvingo province recorded the highest number of qualified teachers with 9,994 of its teaching staff having teaching diplomas and degrees and has only 491 unqualified teachers.”
The country boasts one of Africa’s highest literacy rates at 91 percent.
However, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu said the number of unqualified teachers was unacceptable.
“The teacher/pupil ratio should be re-looked,” he said.
“The number of unqualified teachers is a bad development because when you give children unqualified teachers you are guaranteeing them poor education and poor pass rates.”