Zimbabwe no longer regards exodus of professional and skilled people as brain drain but brain circulation

Zimbabwe no longer regards exodus of professional and skilled people as brain drain but brain circulation

Below is the full Q & A:

HON. MARUPI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education regarding the state of affairs concerning teachers. We find that teachers who cannot communicate in local languages are deployed to teach in communities, particularly at elementary level Grade 1.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. If I got him correctly, he is asking about teachers being deployed in areas where they are not fluent in the mother tongue of that area, is that correct?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, that is correct.

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Indeed, the Ministry now has a policy of ensuring that, that should not happen. You cannot send a teacher to teach Grade 1 or ECD classes when they do not understand the particular language. The thrust is now that even the learners in ECD must be taught in their mother language and as they progress, you introduce the other languages. If something like that is still happening, I think it needs to be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities for corrective action to be taken. I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Professor Murwira, opezulu. I think the other side of the coin will relate to the training of teachers. Perhaps you may complement the response of the Leader of Government business. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I wish to thank the Hon. Member for this very important question. You would know that since 2019, the policy for training teachers is now requiring all enrolled teachers at a Teachers’ College to learn three more languages other than their own. What this means is that a person or a teacher who graduates at the Teachers’ College is able to operate in areas where they are competent in terms of language, but what we are also doing is to increase the pool of Zimbabweans who are multilingual. It therefore means that this question, as we go into the future, will not become a question. I thank you.

HON. P. ZHOU: My supplementary question is, how many years should teachers spend after training before their deployment because we have noted in the past that there are a lot of teachers who are trained and then they go spend a number of years without being deployed? Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: You train them, but they are not employed. What is the response Hon. Minister Murwira?

HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. What we know according to our training schedules is that Zimbabwe still has a shortage of trained teachers. The issue which is there is the issue of posts that are released in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education that are funded by Treasury. As we speak, the last time we checked, we had around 15 000 to 20 000 vacancies and the teachers that we have trained are less than that in terms of the ones that have not yet been trained. However, there is also another thinking of saying I would rather be staying at home trained than staying at home waiting for nothing to happen in future, because when that position arises and you are not trained, nothing happens to you. So, it is a double-sided issue.

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