By Nqobile Tshili
Three African countries have approached Government to recruit Zimbabwean teachers who are on demand in those nations.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima revealed this last Friday during a public lecture held at the United College of Education in Bulawayo.
The public lecture, which was organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union (Zicosu), was running under the theme: “Utilising teachers and education in achieving vision 2030,”
Prof Mavima said Government has suspended talks with South Sudan over exportation of graduates due to security threats in that country.
He said Government was in talks with Rwanda, Namibia and Botswana to export teachers to those countries.
“We have been approached by other countries wanting mainly teachers who can teach English. And we are exploring the possibility of bilateral arrangements, those teachers who are willing can then be employed outside the country. We are working on that.
“The first country which approached us was South Sudan but we suspended that programme because they went into some security problems. Rwanda has now also approached us, Namibia is talking to us and Botswana is talking to us,” Prof Mavima said.
It is estimated that nearly 20 000 teachers are unemployed while a job freeze has resulted in nearly 13 000 vacancies.
Prof Mavima said Government is serious about addressing teachers’ conditions of service.
He said in conjunction with teachers’ unions, his Ministry is pushing for non-monetary incentives for teachers.
“We are working on the provision of residential stands at low prices. We are looking at the possibility of having three children of teachers not paying fees in Government schools.
“We have to do the advocacy with other ministries to make sure that it is accepted. So there are a number of things that we are working on together. We are working on empowerment programmes where teachers can access loans and have income generation projects,” Prof Mavima said.
He said for the country’s education system to thrive, teachers have to be motivated.
Prof Mavima expressed satisfaction with the willingness of teachers unions to give negotiations a chance.
“Several of the unions including the biggest union Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) have come to me and said Honourable Minister we have seen the sincerity of His Excellency and we have seen the sincerity of the Government including your own willingness to engage us on an ongoing basis.
“Because of that we have embraced a path to dialogue instead of a path to conflict. So we are continuing to work with Zimta and other unions.
“But there are others maybe two of them who have maintained the orientation towards confrontation,” he said. The Chronicle