Editor's Comment

Rural areas deserve primary services too

THE teaching profession is a service that is needed for the development of both the rural and urban areas. If Zambia has to develop evenly, the service must not be a preserve of the urban areas only. People in rural areas need teachers as much as those in the urban areas.
Zambia is opening up through the construction of schools, health posts and roads. This means if these services are provided across the country, why should teachers feel they are an exception and resist to be sent to rural areas.
It is important that teaching services are provided to all parts of the country because we have children that need to go to school.
For instance, medical personnel readily take up posts in different parts of the country, regardless of how remote the location may be. To them, it is service that is priority and not the area they have been posted.
Undoubtly, those who enter the teaching profession are well aware that they would be expected to serve in any part of the country. It is disappointing when we come across reports that not all teachers started work despite a clear statement that they should be ready to work anywhere.
Two hundred newly-recruited teachers failed to report to their respective centres especially in the rural parts of the country.
This has prompted the Ministry of Higher Education to conduct a fresh recruitment exercise for teachers to fill up the vacancies.
Ministry of Higher Education spokesperson Hillary Chipango said teachers should be ready to serve wherever they are posted. Slightly over 400 teachers have been replaced.
Government usually recruits over 5,000 teachers countrywide annually.
This means the initial exercise was merely a waste of time. Government again has to carry out the same exercise when it could have been focusing on other developmental issues.
What is even more saddening is that some of those who resist such postings probably cry the loudest that Government is not providing employment for its citizens, yet when such opportunities arise, those who are expected to take up the postings decline to do so.
Every citizen should look at the bigger picture having in mind the desire to contribute to the development of the nation. How will Zambia move forward if some of the citizens are reluctant to offer their services in certain parts of the country unless they are deployed to the urban areas.
Obviously, development across the country cannot move at the same pace. However, with a positive mind, even the rural areas can pick up its pace of development as long as citizens do not shun them.
Besides, the professional aspect, teachers should take advantage of opportunities such as farming seeing that there is still virgin land in the rural areas unlike the urban areas where there is currently not much land available.
We are not saying those who are deployed to the rural areas should now prioritise alternative activities but a reminder that every locality has its own peculiar opportunities.

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