Ministry of Education has started the recruitment process of 5 703 primary and secondary school teachers.
In an interview on Wednesday, Principal Secretary ( P S ) Chikondano Mussa said adverts calling for applications for secondary school teacher vacancies were published, but those for primary school teachers will be done in consultation with the Ministry of Local Government since primary education was devolved to district councils.
The exercise comes against a backdrop of teachers who completed the Initial Primary Teacher Education (IPTE) from 2013 have been pushing government to recruit them on a permanent basis unlike serving as auxiliary teachers as is currently the case.
According to a document from the ministr y, government will recruit 2 200 primary school teachers, 2 003 secondary school teachers and 1 500 auxiliary secondary school teachers under the Equity with Quality and Learning at Secondary project.
The document says government will also recruit 456 general education staff, bringing the total number of new recruits in the ministry to 6 159.
Said Mussa: “The filling of vacancies for teachers which have been outstanding for long will ensure institutions have a full establishment which will ease pressure on existing teachers and will also raise the standards of teaching and the delivery of services in secondary and primary schools in the country.”
She added that the government of Malawi recognises the role the education sector plays in socio-economic development of the country.
Said the PS: “The Malawi Vision 2063 identifies human capital development as one of the key enablers for the country’s transformation.”
According to her, the recruitment exercise will help reduce the pupil: teacher ratio, workload among teachers and unemployment among youths as well as help teachers attain a clear career progression path.
Mussa says the recruitment of 5 703 teachers is a step towards fulfilling the Tonse Alliance campaign promise of creating one million jobs.
Teachers Union of Malawi general secretary Charles Kumchenga has since welcomed the development, saying it is a good start towards filling the huge teacher gap that has existed for a long time.
He said: “The figure may be small compared to vacancies that are there but it’s a good start.”
Education expert Steve Sharra has said the figures mentioned do not give any hope of reaching the right teacher-pupil ratio any time soon.
He said according to the Ministry of Education estimates, 51 000 new secondary school teachers will be needed between now and 2030 but the figure may rise, factoring in a population growth of 2.9 percent.
Sharra said for primary school teachers, the estimates show that 71 000 new teachers are needed between 2021 and 2030.
He said: “With these estimates, we need to recruit a minimum of 5 100 secondary school teachers and 7 100 primary school teachers every year to be on target.”
But the Ministry of Education spokesperson Chikondi Chimala said recruitments are done based on the budget so the hiring of 5 703 teachers should be appreciated considering the available resources