Editor's Comment

Unfreeze teachers’ positions

JICA experts and staff from Ministry of General Education.

THAT the Ministry of General Education has identified about 3,600 frozen positions countrywide should settle anxieties by officers who have been holding those positions.
First of all, the development to unfreeze and confirm 3,600 positions by the ministry is long overdue and will be a great motivator to the staff under it.
It is amazing that in this day and age of computerisation, some civil servants can act in positions for as long as 10 years.
When a person has been given an opportunity to act in a position, there is a period stipulated.
If a person fails to deliver to expectation, the probation is either extended or he or she is reverted to the substantive position.
It is, therefore, understandable that Government is concerned that some teachers have been acting on their positions for as long as 10 years without being confirmed when the normal waiting period after a position is frozen is supposed to be three months.
It is a pity that such things are happening even when Government has decentralised human resource positions to districts and in some instances down to school level.
So, where were the district education boards and human resource personnel when teachers were allowed to be in acting positions for a whole decade?
Acting in a position for that long is frustrating because people do not feel appreciated. There is also a feeling that they are being abused.
This feeling was captured during the Basic Education Teachers’ Union of Zambia (BETUZ) pre-administrative meeting with Ministry of General Education director human resource and management Musonda Kapulo yesterday.
BETUZ members took turns to express their displeasure at the conduct of some human resource officers in their districts.
BETUZ members are also not happy that some of their members are only confirmed when retiring, and that the slow pace at which some human resource-related cases are handled when reported to the ministry is discouraging.
There is no workforce that can deliver efficiently without any incentive. The provision of this incentive will therefore not only motivate the workers but will also improve service delivery.
Additionally, it will also encourage other staff to develop themselves professionally so that they can also rise career-wise.
This development therefore gives hope for other staff that there are opportunities to rise on the organisational ladder.
It is therefore a progressive move as all employees desire to make progress in their respective careers.
The Ministry of General Education should raise the bar by ensuring that deserving workers are rewarded by being confirmed timely.
We hope that the request to the Ministry of Finance for funding will be looked at favourably.
Obviously this will require a lot of money, but the roles that the teachers play in shaping the young minds is priceless.
Ideally all positions should be funded, but if resources are insufficient, the implementation should be phased. What matters the most is to start unfreezing these positions.

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