Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
The on-going staff rationalisation process has resulted in the shortage of Tonga teachers in Kariba and Binga districts where learning has not yet started, more than a month into the new term.
There is a dearth in trained Tonga teachers and previously the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education engaged temporary teachers from Ordinary and Advanced Level graduates in the area.
However, since the freeze in employment by the Public Service Commission, vacancies have remained unfilled to the disadvantage of pupils in the affected areas.
This has resulted in an outcry from parents who feel time is running out for their children with no solution in sight.
“It is so sad that our children are unable to learn their mother tongue in schools because there are no teachers.
“The system of engaging temporary teachers helped us a lot over the years and we do not know why it stopped,” said Mr Edmore Mbonda.
Chief Mola of Kariba hailed Government for building schools in the area but bemoaned the shortage of Tonga teachers.
“We have a challenge that is affecting the learning of our mother tongue, which is the shortage of teachers. We sometimes have our own children teaching their counterparts, but they are not trained. That area has to be addressed,” said Chief Mola.
He also hailed Government for allowing the teaching of indigenous languages such as Tonga as a way of fostering development.
At least 20 teaching posts in Kariba district are vacant since the beginning of the year.
Mashonaland West provincial education director Mr Sylvester Mashayamombe confirmed the development.
“Yes, there is a shortage of Tonga teachers and the reason is that we are unable to recruit people to fill vacant posts because the Public Service Commission is still finalising the staff rationalisation programme,” said Mr Mashayamombe.
“We have made a special plea to our head office so that they can negotiate with our employers at the Public Service Commission so that there can be a waiver, specifically for Tonga.”
Training of Tonga teachers started recently at the Great Zimbabwe University.
The ministry has however, tried to ameliorate the situation by asking teachers trained in other fields who are able to speak Tonga to teach the language on a temporary basis until a solution is found.