Analysis: NONDO CHILONGA
JOBBICKS Kalumba, the newly-appointed Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of General Education, has taken part of his preliminary work at the ministry headquarters to set the tone for the work at the ministry.
Achieving quality education service delivery has continued to be the desire for the ministry in the year 2019.
As a way to start this journey in the first quarter of the year, the initial work for Dr Kalumba begun with him meeting his local staff who are at different levels of operation. The first meeting was held with the members of staff at the National Science Centre in Kabulonga and was followed by a meeting with head teachers in Lusaka at Twin Palm Secondary School in Kabulonga.
The other meeting was held with senior management at the ministry headquarters. These meetings were later followed by yet another important meeting with the Teaching Service Commission at Government Complex. The meeting at the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) was to interact with the commissioners and the secretariat.
At all the meetings, Dr Kalumba revealed that his main preoccupation for the year would be on two issues namely (i) learner achievements; and (ii) teacher motivation. These two issues, according to him, if achieved would enhance the much-needed quality education for the nation of Zambia.
“We need to address the needs of the men and women holding the piece of chalk by ensuring that we address the issues affecting the morale of our teachers in the sector. It is also important for us as a sector to ensure that learners get what is given to them.” Dr Kalumba said.
At the meetings, Dr Kalumba insisted that the two recipes for quality education given were dependent on a number of factors which included serving with passion, unity, good character, consistent preparation of work and interdependence on each other.
Further, there was a consistent caution to all personnel of not taking for granted the different positions that the officers were holding but that they instead have to put in extra effort to carry out their duties.
“We are in our various positions not because we are the best or the most intelligent but because God has favoured us and He has thus seen it fit for us to be in the positions that we are in. It is a privilege for all of us. We are here to serve one another therefore we must learn to serve one another with passion”, he echoed to his staff.
Dr Kalumba who is not new to the education sector, has had his career ladder in the area of education evolve from that of class teacher to head teacher, district education board secretary, provincial education officer and finally permanent secretary. At education, Dr Kalumba, has expressed eagerness to contribute to the transformation of the ministry and he has equally called all the members of staff to join him in the work to be embarked on.
This has been expressed through the interactions he has been having with all the staff.
In the spirit of team work, the permanent secretary has been taking time to mingle with different personnel in order to motivate the staff and to encourage them to continue working hard while emphasising the need for them to uphold a positive attitude towards work for quality education service to be delivered efficiently and effectively.
An aspect being stressed is that of unity. It is on Dr Kalumba’s agenda of to enhance unity and peace because it is believed that it is easy to work well with a team which is united and ready to serve.
“Let us embrace each other, we are here to serve. We must be a light. We are here to be moved by passion. The passion to serve our people. We are expected to move very fast to transform the education system. It is important for every member of staff to possess good characteristics so that people must feel your presence. Let us be united as one and work together as one. ” Dr Kalumba said to the members of staff gathered at National Science Centre.
With the head teachers, emphasis was placed on the need for them to continue exhibiting intelligence coupled with good character. Further, the education managers were urged to ensure quality as they remained consistent in their work.
“We are to be of good character. We must always combine intelligence with good character. We should not forget that quality of our preparation determines our performance and that what we persistently do becomes easier and helps us to be consistent”, he said
Addressing management at the Ministry headquarters, Dr Kalumba accentuated that teaching and learning are key aspects of the education service delivery.
“The Zambian people have expectations. We are to execute our mandate according to the expectations of the people. We are expected to give policy direction in the area of teaching and learning to the people. “’he pointed out.
He explained that the Ministry ought not to do things in the ordinary way and pointed out the need for the management team to always think beyond the obvious.
Dr Kalumba urged the need to move away from that which has tendency of spoiling the education system i.e. moving away from the formality or theories as opposed to requirements; moving away from perceptions as opposed to realities and moving away from concepts as opposed to products.
At the Teaching Service Commission, Dr Kalumba together with the commission chairperson harmonised their thoughts as they were both in appreciation of the symbiotic relationship that exists between the two entities.
“We are like Siamese twins because we cannot be separated from each other. And we are changing the landscape,” said Mr Mhango.
Dr Kalumba on the other hand stated that,” We will rely heavily on the Teaching Service Commission to operate as the success of the Ministry lies heavily the hands of the Teaching Service Commission. We have to work together. Let us remain united, singing the same song for the love of Mother Zambia.”
The various meetings which have not been an end in itself are a way of calling for all members of staff to efficiency in the conducting work in the ministry. For the ministry to succeed, for the learner to attain the anticipated achievement levels and for the teacher to be accommodated in the learning achievement levels the Ministry needs the support of all stakeholders especially the members of staff.
The author is Ministry of General Education spokesperson.
Analysis: NONDO CHILONGA