Analysis: KELVIN SIWALE
THE education sector is very important in the development of any country and so provision of quality education is inevitable.
Quality education is farfetched if the qualifications of teachers and lecturers is compromised. Unfortunately, corruption, being the father to many crimes, always finds a way round the systems, especially if they are weak, to ensure that even those who failed high school are enrolled in colleges and some of them fraudulently acquire the qualifications and begin to pause as teachers.
Therefore, the Teaching Council couldn’t have come at a better time than this. Sad as some people may be, in the anti-corruption circles it gives us great joy because we have a partner to fight injustice all we can say is that the commission is a necessary evil. How can we allow unqualified people to be recruited as teachers? Somebody who failed their exams, teaching our children? No ways, only corruption causes people to be where they don’t deserve to be. The council has come to sanitise the education sector, it is gratifying that the wrong seeds are being screened out of the system and all those that forged their results being dealt with. In fact they should not only end at being dismissed once found wanting but should also be prosecuted for gaining pecuniary advantage.
There is one cultural problem that we have, ‘connections’, in Chinese, called ‘guanxi’. Someone might have known that some of those who were recruited in the sector had no complete high school results, but some of them could not be touched because of guanxi. It is hoped that with the coming of the teaching council on board, only those with qualifications will be registered as teachers. The ideology of connections should not come at play. Whoever has not worked hard should not be employed. Save our children from being handled by unqualified teachers.
Regulation of the teaching fraternity has come at the right time when the education sector in our country is growing speedily. There is real need to ensure that we fight fraud and its father corruption in the sector. Forgery of certificates should be the talk of the past. In fact the council should continue digging through the database and ensure that anyone that will remain standing before pupils in class has the right academic and professional qualifications. Those without qualifications should be discharged before they produce more pupils after their own kind. This may seem to be a radical approach but think of how people enter the system with forged qualifications. It is as good as broad day robbery.
The council comes in to ensure that thorough screening of the qualifications of applicants for teaching positions is done in conjunction with examinations council of Zambia. This means that only those cleared and registered by the council will be employed and so if anyone without qualifications is going to be employed, the council will be accountable. The council is thus encouraged to ensure that the names of teachers to be deployed are cross-checked with the council’s database before the names are published in the media. Remember it is the quality of knowledge transfer that will determine the quality of products (graduates) from our education system.
Now in case you thought the council is just bringing trouble, think twice, this is not about victimisation but taking the bull by its horns. Corruption should not be entertained in the education sector, to those with influence, if your relative is not qualified, encourage them to go and re-sit the exams. Don’t facilitate their entry in the system, you are compromising our education system. Let us support the council so that they can deliver according to their mandate. Interfering with the operations of the council or any other body appointed to execute government work whereby you cause them to do things contrary to procedure amounts to abuse of office.
As explained in our earlier issue on this platform, if superiors instruct you to execute unlawful instructions, such as recruiting an unqualified person, let them put it in writing, so that when the Anti-Corruption Commission or police call on you, they will find evidence pointing to the right person. If instructions or demands from “bosses” are not right and not in writing, please don’t execute, they will come and refuse having instructed you.
Lastly, the commission should remain steadfast and keep up the good work which is a remarkable contribution to the fight against corruption and forgery in the teaching fraternity. Let only the deserving teachers stay in the system. We all have one common cause: to develop this nation and leave a better place for our future generations, something they should remember us for after we are gone.
The author is an anti-corruption activist.