Shona speaking teachers who had been recruited to take infant classes in Bulawayo are set to be withdrawn from schools amid an outcry by parents on language mismatch .
Officials are blaming a computer-based teacher deployment software and “possible corruption” for the error, which has caused outrage in Matabeleland, and Bulawayo in particular. Locals say most of the teachers recruited on a list published on March 8 were Shona speakers, whereas government policy is that the language of command for infant classes and the first three years of primary school is the mother language of the majority of pupils.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education said the teachers wrongly deployed were now being recalled, and will likely be redeployed elsewhere.
“In line with the ministry’s policy, the deployment of teachers at infant level takes into consideration the language of instruction, especially the mother tongue spoken by the learners themselves,” the ministry’s secretary Tumisang Thabela told a news conference in Harare on Monday.
“For this reason, measures are being taken to rectify the deployment mismatch that was noted so that the rights of learners as enshrined in the Constitution are safeguarded. The ministry takes note of the concerns raised particularly by Bulawayo Province with regards to mismatch in the deployment of teachers at infant level. It is a result of some glitches in the e-recruitment process and due attention is being given to this issue by the ministry.
“The ministry would like to apologise to the nation, the affected communities and recruited teachers for any inconveniences caused as the ministry goes through e-recruitment for the first time in order to improve efficiency and subsequently root out possible corruption in the recruitment process.”