By William Milasi

Incoherence between Treasury and the Public Service is hampering teacher recruitment Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora has said.

Government at the beginning of this term set a target of recruiting 2300 teachers but it appears to date nothing has yet happened.

“I needed 7000 teachers last year but by the decision of the Cabinet I was told that I was going to get 2300 teachers,” Dokora told Kwekwe school headmasters and School Development Committee (SDCs) chairpersons on Thursday at Loreto High School.

“We are still waiting for the clearance from the Public Services.

“The challenge is that there is an incoherence between the Public Service and the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

Dokora also said that the recruitment of teachers is going to be done based on the specialised areas to push the new curriculum. He added that the number of unemployed Zimbabwean teachers is hovering at 16 000 with 2000 more going to be ejected from teachers colleges this year.

“There are 16 000 unemployed teachers who want to get into the system,” said Dokora.

He issued a stern warning to headmasters and teachers who are reluctant to implement the new curriculum.

“If you prove that you are a stumbling block we will weed you out. We don’t want stumbling blocks within the system, there are headmasters and teachers young and vibrant who are out of the system and raring to go,” he said.

He added, “This year we are expecting about 2000 teachers from the teachers colleges who wants to join the system.”

Treasury has been making frantic calls to “drastically reduce the civil service wage bill.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa during the 2016 budget presentation said that the “rationalisation of the civil service would save 41, 2 million per month.

Currently government has thousands of teaching staff who hold non-teaching qualifications.

In June last year Dokora indicated that about 10 000 teachers and headmasters could be recruited as a move to address the shortage of educators in the country.

The move has however, not been realised as treasury is operating in constrained fiscal space characterised by staggered civil service salary dates and little capital and social spending.

Dokora also told the headmasters that government is working on professionalising the teaching sector through the formation of the teachers professional council.

“We need to standardise the profession in the sector. I will always use the example of legal and medical fields where one cannot practise when they are not part of those professional bodies.

“We will take this proposal to the government, through Cabinet, to codify the council,” he said.

He said that the council would also look into the teacher’s welfare.

“Individuals with non-teaching qualifications are getting into the sector because it is not a professional sector.

“Teaching needs to be professional. How do we transact a learning situation in a learning environment with someone who has not been trained? We have to jealously guard and protect our sector,’’ he said.