Editor's Comment

Freezing education jobs not solution

PUPILS in class.

EDUCATION forms the backbone of development in every country. Put another way, education has the power to make the world a better place.
With education, people are able to make informed choices that may lead to the greater good of many people. Let us take the example of voting.
People are able to make better choices during an election by comparing candidates and analysing a prevailing situation; and all this they are able to do if they are enlightened by being educated.
The United Nations recognises education as a right. Accordingly, article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to education”.
Going by the priority the world’s highest body, the UN, places on education, it is disappointing that over 6,000 jobs in the Ministry of Education have been frozen because of ineffective human resource management.
We feel with Teaching Service Commission chairperson Stanley Mhango, who says it is regrettable that the jobs have been frozen at a time the country is facing a high teacher-pupil ratio.
Statistics show that the teacher-pupil ratio in Zambia, as at 2013, stood at about 48 pupils to one teacher.
This, already, is a high figure considering that teaching is a job where a pupil needs personal attention, and the freezing of the jobs is bound to affect the effective delivery of service to the children.
With the freezing of jobs, the ratio is bound to rise, disadvantaging children who will fall victim of poor results because teachers cannot cope with the large numbers of pupils they have to handle at any given time.
And by freezing the jobs, we are deducting from the achievement of the Education for All goal, which aims to have all the children, at least, access basic education.
Zambia, being a developing country, is in need of human resource, whose development starts at an early stage in the life of an individual and education plays a major role in the entire process.
We find the freezing of jobs due to ineffective human resource management as not being helpful at all in enhancing education.
Where the problem has already been identified, and in this case, ineffective human resource management, as we are told, there is need to deal with the root cause instead of aiming for the offshoots of the problem, which is likely to be vacant positions.
As the Teaching Service Commission has engaged the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) to ensure that the issue of frozen jobs is resolved, it is important to get to the cause of the freezing of jobs.
From the information we have, the issue is the ineffective human resource management and this is what should be dealt with.
We urge the PSMD to ensure that the ineffective managers who did not do their part and left a number of positions vacant are not spared for sleeping on their jobs.
Government spends huge sums of money in salaries and allowances on such officers and this is what it gets. This is unfair to their employer.
Any employee is expected to give their best to their employers and if they fail to meet the standard, there are ways of dealing with them.
The nation’s human resource development process should not be slowed down by slothful personnel who neglect their duty.
Our nation needs teaching personnel to propel the education sector to higher levels and contribute to literacy levels.

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