Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development have set out to recruit 3 600 primary school teachers under Initial Primary Teacher Education (IPTE) 12.
MoEST said on Thursday that the recruitment of the teachers, who graduated in 2018, will help towards reducing the current pupil to qualified teacher ratio (PQTR).
But Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) says the 3 600 new teachers will not bring much change since there is a gap of 20 000 teachers to meet the targeted PQTR of 1:60.
In a statement issued on Thursday and signed by MoEST Principal Secretary Justin Saidi the ministry said the allocation of the new teachers to district councils has been finalised.
Reads the statement in part: “The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government [and Rural Development] wishes to inform all teachers and the general public that the recruitment process for 3 600 primary school teachers under IPTE 12, has now commenced.
“All student teachers are therefore being advised to report to the districts where they have been posted, to fill their GP1 forms from 28th October to 1st November, 2019. We are working on a smooth process to ensure that once recruited, all teachers will be introduced on payroll so that councils should not accumulate any arrears.”
In an interview on Thursday, Saidi confirmed the recruitment of the 3 600 EPTE 12 teachers whom he said will help to reduce the current PQTR gap and improve the quality of education in the country.
He said the 3 600 recruits were the only teachers remaining to be employed and that he was optimistic government will increase annual intakes trainees into TTCs after the completion of three new colleges in Rumphi, Chikwawa and Mchinji. The three new TTCs will increase the number of TTCs from eight to 11 nationwide.
On funding for the recruitment of the 3 600, Saidi said the exercise was budgeted for and included in the approved K1.7 trillion 2019/20 National Budget.
According to TUM, the entry point salary of primary school teachers in the civil service is Grade L with a starting salary of K109 505 per month. This means government will spend an additional K394 million a month to retain the teachers.
The education sector was allocated K172.8 billion in the national budget, representing 10.3 percent of total share.
Reacting to the recruitment of 3 600 primary school teachers, TUM secretary general Charles Kumchenga commended government for employing teachers who graduated last year, but was quick to point out that the recruits are on the lower side comparing to the current PQTR in the country.
He observed that government needs to recruit an additional 20 000 teachers to meet the standard PQTR of 1:60.
Said Kumchenga: “As a country, we are very far and we are not helping our teachers in as far as teacher/pupil ratio is concerned. Government claims that the current teacher pupil ratio is 1: 65, but we know that in some schools, especially in remote areas, the ratio is one teacher to 150 learners.”
African Institute for Development Policy education activist Steve Sharra also welcomed government’s move to recruit the 3 600 primary school teachers saying in the past, it has been difficult for government to recruit teachers after completing their training.
He also noted that Malawi has a huge task in reducing the current PQTR which government claims is at 1:65.
Said Sharra: “We have got five million learners in primary schools and we have got 78 000 teachers and it is far from the target of one teacher per 60 learners that we missed in 2018”. In August last year, government planned to recruit 9 000 teachers who remained unemployed after completing their training in 2016. A week later, government deployed 8 000 IPTE 10 and 11 and Open Distance and Learning (ODL) 5 primary school teachers who graduated in 2016.