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New teacher recruitment plan

Government will soon consider a systematic recruitment of teachers that will see them being employed in their provinces of origin in line with the devolution agenda, chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga has said.

She told The Herald after meetings held in Mutare on the Free Education Bill over the weekend that the move sought to ensure the survival of indigenous languages.

"One of our major takeaways was around issues of recruitment and languages, it was understood that in the spirit of devolution we need to make sure that when recruitment is taking place, those that are from within that particular area who understand the language get the job," she said.

"The meeting was an assessment of the education sector and what needs to be done urgently. There was an acknowledgement that we need to find ways of addressing teachers' welfare as a matter of urgency."

She said organisations such as the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) should be made to focus more on social protection instead of cost recovery as that was not their primary mandate.

"We need to make sure that the issues of school fees and examination fees are seen in the context of social protection as you remember that there has been a reversal to the ZIMSEC examinations fees (increase).

"It does not make sense that we want to introduce free education and then when you have educated the person you do not want them to be assessed.

"In other words you are saying we will let you come to school but you will not be assessed so we said ZIMSEC is not like any other parastatal and it cannot be asked to operate on the basis of cost recovery," she said.

Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the committee would be hosting a donor conference in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to help finance the education sector.

She urged various stakeholders to not underestimate the impact of the education sector as it was critical in driving the country's economy.

"We need to be looking at financing mechanisms so we will be hosting a donor conference very soon in collaboration with the Ministry of Education so that we can see how we can finance educational programmes," she said.

"Acknowledging that education is critical that is where most of our social protection should be targeted at," said the MDC-T legislator.

She warned parents and guardians against being coerced to buy school uniforms at the school when there was a cheaper and more affordable option.

"The issues around school uniforms were discussed and you cannot be forced as a parent to buy school uniforms at the school because if you can find them where it's cheaper then you should be buying there where it is cheaper," she said.

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