Members of Parliament (MPs) have taken to task Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Cain Mathema, on the government’s skewed teacher recruitment policy, which they said favours outsiders at the expense of locals.
A number of stakeholders from Matabeleland have constantly raised this issue over time, with the government consistently sweeping it under the carpet.
However, during a question and answer session in Parliament recently, Nkayi South legislator, Stars Mathe, confronted Mathema over the issue.
“What is the policy on hiring teachers that are coming from all the different provinces of the country vis a vis the law that we have in our country that says we should respect all recognised languages in Zimbabwe?” asked Mathe.
“When they are hiring, what is it that they are supposed to do so that they take the points that I have said into consideration?”
In his response, Mathema said: “Our laws and rules are very clear on the appointment of teachers, that indeed every region of Zimbabwe has to have teachers from their areas. We are employing teachers from every district right across the country.”
Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, had to ask Mathema, who sounded ill-prepared that MPs seated at the back did not get his answer, resulting in him in repeating his answer, which still did not satisfy the legislators.
“The question that I asked is on policy that they use when they are hiring teachers in a case whereby people coming from Mashonaland East are hired to teach students from other provinces that are not native speakers,” Mathe added a supplementary question.
“What I want to know is, is it a policy that they take certain names from a certain province and when certain names are submitted from a certain province, why is it people that are coming from that province will not be hired? Why have names from a different province?”
Mathema tried to respond: “The way we hire teachers comes from district level. Anyone who wants to be hired by government to be a teacher, applications are done at district level and they are forwarded to Harare. We do not leave names that we get from districts.”
Even the speaker himself was not satisfied with Mathema ‘s response resulting in him posing a question to the minister.
“Honourable Minister, the question is on the names that come from the district level which are not the same names that will then come back to that district. There are names that come from a completely different district or a different province. That is the question that was asked by the Hon. Member,” said the speaker.
Still Mathema could not answer satisfactorily but was shielded by the speaker from further scrutiny by blocking Mathe from asking a second supplementary question.
“Since this issue is problematic and the minister seems not to have the proper answers that are prepared, I want to plead with him that he brings the answer that he is promising the House, that it be a Ministerial Statement so that he states correctly how many applicants have applied from each province and how many have been employed as per province as he has promised this House,” suggested Lindiwe Maphosa, Matabeleland North proportional representation MP.
Mudenda then told the House, Mathema had requested to liaise with the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to come up with a detailed ministerial statement to be presented to Parliament this Tuesday.