MINISTRY of General Education permanent secretary Owen Mgemezulu has called on provincial education officers to submit correct and verified data regarding teacher qualification audit and upgrading.
According to the 2013 qualification audit, a total of 84,268 teachers were supposed to have been upgraded according to their levels of attainment of teacher-related qualifications only.
But, speaking at a Media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Mr. Mgemezulu noted that during the implementation of teacher upgrading exercise last year, teachers who had no educational related qualifications were upgraded due to unverified information.
He directed the PEOs to submit verified information not later than April 15, 2016, stating that those who would fail to meet the deadline would be charged.
Mr. Mgemezulu also warned that those who would misdirect the ministry by submitting unverified data from their offices would be dealt with accordingly.
“In 2015, Government and four teacher unions signed a collective agreement to implement upgrading of teachers based on the 2013 staff qualification audit.
“Its implementation revealed glaring anomalies of having teachers that acquired the required qualifications being omitted and thereby defeating the intended purposes. The information we received in some cases did not specify the diplomas and degrees obtained,” he said.
Mr. Mgemezulu disclosed that issuance of teachers’ practicing certificates was likely to begin in January 2017.
He indicated that this was to give the Teaching Council of Zambia enough time to compile the teachers’ register and sensitization, which would form the basis of practicing certificate issuance.
He said the council was still consulting various stakeholders on the best ways of categorizing teachers according to their academic qualifications.
“Phase one of holding teacher registration sensitization meetings has been done in all the 10 provinces, so the council is now planning to commence phase two. “This will entail explaining issues which are either not clear or have been misinterpreted,” he said.
Mr. Mgemezulu explained that no teacher would be disadvantaged on account of their academic qualifications during the issuance of teaching practicing certificates.
“This is so because teachers entered the profession at different times when different policy guidelines prevailed, therefore our teachers should not worry about academic qualifications but they will be required to attach copies of such qualifications for the sake of records,” he said.