Shortage of Maths, Science teachers hits Matabeleland

Dr Lazarus Dokora

Dr Lazarus Dokora

Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
THERE is a shortage of Science and Mathematics teachers in Zimbabwe with the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces the hardest hit.

Addressing a curriculum review meeting attended by school heads, provincial and district education officials in Harare on Monday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora said efforts were being made to address the shortage.

As of 2013, Zimbabwe had a shortage of 1 521 Maths and Science teachers.

“We are trying to relook at that deficit to see what today’s deficit looks like. In Matabeleland South already we know that we need about 199 Mathematics and Science teachers. In the Midlands there is quite some deficit there. There is need for 74 science teachers . . .,” said Minister Dokora.

He said Harare was in a much better position.

“Harare is much better. You are almost at the saturation point of your requirements. We only have a deficit of 24 Science teachers and two Mathematics teachers at ‘A’ Level otherwise you have all you need in terms of teachers.

“At ‘O’ Level Mathematics you are okay.

“You do not have some situations where we have had to ask certain persons qualified in some disciplines to assist in teaching Mathematics. You only need two Science teachers at ‘O’ Level,” said Minister Dokora.

The country lost a number of Science and Mathematics teachers to its Sadc neighbours at the height of the sanctions- induced economic hardships.

Most Science and Mathematics teachers left en masse for South Africa, Botswana, Malawi and Namibia in search of greener pastures.

Some of them are, however, finding the going tough outside the country especially in South Africa and are heading back home.

Reports, especially from South Africa, say that country now prefers employing its own citizens.

Some Government schools in South Africa have not renewed contracts for Zimbabwean teachers whom they have since replaced with their own.

Pin It
  • ahso

    Guess that is why they were scrambling to deploy teachers from private schools there; most of who have refused. Doesn’t help too that because of the vindictiveness of the government, they would rather have these schools understaffed than take back teachers who had left out of dissatisfaction.

  • Cde Njelele

    The Minister should quickly ensure the scie-maths teachers are deployed in Mat/Midlands even if they cant click their tongues! Otherwise someone will start calling for devolution. We are reminded of how this also affected the enrolments at NUST,because high schools in Mat could not produce candidates with the relevant subjects. Cde Ministers Moyo and Dokoro should together take appropriate action.

    • bexilford

      This has nothing to do with Moyo, It is Dr Lazarus Dokora and Mavhima who are responsible for the training and deployment of teachers. One has to wonder if this is a deliberate policy, because these ministers performance is worse than during Ian Smith days. I feel that I was lucky to be educated during the Rhodesian days, otherwise I would not have been able to realise my potential as is hapenning now.

      “The province recently received seven names of qualified early childhood development (ECD) teachers from Bondolfi Teachers’ College in Masvingo who were referred here for deployment but were referred back because of the language barrier.

      “We would have gladly absorbed them but these are the formative years of the young children who need careful handling. It would be impossible for them to be taught by someone who speaks a different language.”

  • ian

    in light of this, why then is the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education introducing the STEM programme, a program that is supposed to benefit the whole nation yet some of the country’s regions will clearly not be able to benefit? Yes, learners from Matabeleland and Midlands etc are not being stopped from registering at schools in regions with better facilities and teaching staff, but how feasible is it for them to do so? Already, there is scramble for places in such areas as Harare, Mashonaland East, etc and many learners have failed to secure places on the STEM programme and are having to take other options. Best way forward- the program should be deferred until steps are taken to ensure that all the country’s citizens are assured of opportunity to participate in such programs which are supposed to be national in outlook.

    • bexilford

      There should be a pose until there are offices in Matebeleland north and South for students in these areas to apply. we need an equal playing field. all provinces have offices for the students to apply to get free education for STEM subjects except the two matebeleland provinces.

  • Hacha Duke of Enkeldoorn

    People in Mat do not want Shona teachers to be deployed there. Their own sons and daughters prefer to teach in SA and Bots – I wonder on the solution to this challenge.

    • bexilford

      There are many qualified teachers in Matebeleland who are not getting jobs for unkown reasons. The government is also refusing to employ returning teachers, so they have no choice but teach abroad.

  • DK

    Sometimes if we feel to much for the poorly minded we drag the whole country backwards. The mere fact that there is a shortage of teachers in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces directly means there are teaching opportunities, yet some keep crying that there is no employment. Where are school leavers from these provinces? Where are college leavers from these provinces? Why then are these provinces at the forefront of refusing teachers who can not speak the provinces mother language? How did Cecil Rhodes do it when he had an Indaba with Ndebele chiefs during the colonial days? Rhodes could not utter a single Ndebele word, yet he managed to settle and construct cities in these regions. The white guys who owned the industries that we cry about today that they are no longer operating did not utter a single word from the local languages other than words of insult, but they were still able to command people from these provinces to be productive enough such that bulawayo and Gweru were the industrial hubs of the country. It’s high time every body played a part in the development of their lives and the country at large. if someone still thinks sympathy is the best way to get people’s attention, then forget it. How are the Chinese doing it in Harare where they are investing millions if not billions? Are they able to utter a single Shona language? Think twice or you will die crying for sympathy.

    • bexilford

      Rhodes employed people who spoke ndebele to teach them to read Ndebele, then used ndebele to teach english. This is not rocket science, you do not need to reinvent the wheel. What you need are teachers who speak ndebele to teach the first 3 years at school, teaching ndebele and english. Where these teachers were born is irrelevant, as long as they understand and speak ndebele. Later years can be taught by non ndebele speaking teachers, since the language of instruction will be english, as long as the teachers have a good grasp of english and are good at they subject they are teaching. Unfortunately in the past wrong people have been deployed to teach subjects which the teachers are not good at. This has given shona speaking teachers a bad name as happened in Lupane recently, when a parents teacher meeting ended up examinining the credentials of the new head suitability to be a teacher, let alone a head of this particular head, who seemed to lack vital skills required to hold the position of a school with pre independence facilities. This person was not suitable for a similar school anywhere in Zimbabwe.