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Teachers without Maths, Science to rewrite exams

by Prosper Ndlovu
20 May 2014 at 07:22hrs | Views
TEACHERS who failed Ordinary Level Mathematics, Science and English must go back to the classroom and re-sit the exams to meet new government professional standards.

A circular from the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry has gone out to headmasters asking them to compile and submit names of teachers who failed the three "core subjects".

The government, working with donors, aims to provide funding for teachers to acquire the subjects by the end of 2015.

The new requirement is the government's response to a national trend which shows that fewer students are passing Maths and Science especially, which is blamed teacher incompetence.

As panic spread among teachers yesterday, unions were warning the government to tread cautiously.

"We've warned them (government) that they can't apply this rule to try and disqualify somebody who's already qualified," Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) CEO Sifiso Ndlovu told Chronicle.

"But we support the programme as an initiative to empower teachers and improve their efficiency."

He said they had received assurances from the government that teachers would not be forced to re-sit the exams, and that those who want to comply with the new minimum professional standards would not have to use their own money.

The Primary and Secondary Education Ministry is working with Global Partnership in Education (GPE), the United States-based multi-national organisation working to build educational capacity in the developing world, on the programme. The GPE will pay for tuition and exam fees of teachers.

Teachers who spoke to Chronicle said there was great uncertainty in the profession. For many years, teachers' colleges required trainee teachers to have passed at least five O' Level subjects with only English as a prerequisite.

But colleges have, over the last two years, updated their requirements to include Mathematics.

"I was shocked last Wednesday when our head made an enquiry about how many of us had Mathematics, saying a report was needed by the ministry. I'm afraid this is designed to disqualify us and leave us jobless," said a teacher from Mzilikazi High School in Bulawayo.

He added: "We've since been ordered to submit our certificates and complete forms indicating whether we have Mathematics or not."

The teachers questioned the logic behind demanding passes in "core subjects" for already qualified teachers.

"I've been in service for the past 10 years. I teach History and English. My subjects have nothing to do with Mathematics. Why should I do it now?" fumed another teacher.

A headmistress from another Bulawayo school said: "I think there's some logic in requiring primary school teachers to have passes in all the core subjects because they teach all subjects.

"That said, I think most teachers will find it difficult to go back to class as students. Where will they find the time?"

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora's mobile phone repeatedly rang unanswered yesterday, while the ministry's secretary, Constance Chigwamba, was not reachable.

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Source - chronicle