GOVERNMENT has taken serious measures in ensuring that teachers are fully equipped to meet the modern challenges of education and were a vital source of knowledge, says Minister of General Education Michael Kaingu.
Dr. Kaingu said this during the World Teachers’ Day commemoration in Lusaka yesterday whose theme was “empowering teachers, building sustainable societies”.
He noted that teachers were highly valued assets as they were among key players in national development.
He said teaching was the only profession that covers all the other professions because it shaped the leadership of any country for both the present and future generation.
“You can have a school, college or university without building, books, pens, desk, blackboards and, I suppose, computers, but you can’t have all these without teachers. This is how valuable teachers are to our communities,” Dr. Kaingu said.
Dr. Kaingu said his ministry had introduced the directorate for Early Childhood Education (ECE).
He stated that more ECE teachers were earmarked for recruitment, particularly for rural areas.
“ECE is a very crucial level of development which we should all take keen interest in. Community members should also play a pivotal role in ensuring the establishment of ECE centres within communities,” he stated.
Dr. Kaingu implored teachers to take full advantage of the information, communication and technology (ICT) available to enhance their teaching.
He added that Government would do its part in ensuring that adequate teaching and learning materials were provided.
“With the advancement of ICTs, I encourage teachers to take advantage of this to enhance your teaching and Government shall do the rest,” he said.
And Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT) president Henry Kapenda said it was Government’s responsibility to develop clear measures aimed at empowering teachers for sustainable development and stable societies.
Mr. Kapenda said it was imperative for Government to empower teachers economically through improved conditions of service and better salaries.
“The global economic slowdown has affected our country. Such challenges are a wake-up call for Government to ensure adequate funding for the education sector. Teachers of this great nation need economic emancipation such as establishing affordable mortgage and financial loan schemes that will be accessible to all teachers,” Mr. Kapenda said.
Mr. Kapenda expressed gratitude to President Edgar Lungu for splinting the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education into two as the Ministry of General Education and Higher Education.
He said the move was an assurance to the education sector that it would attract UNESCO recommendation of 24 percent of funding from the national budget.
“We believe the move will translate into promoting synergies in the planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and coordination of education programmes,” he said.