SIMON MUNTEMBA writes
GOVERNMENT has started rolling out subject specialization programme for primary schools to reduce teachers’ workload. Ministry of General Education permanent secretary Jobbicks Kalumba announced that specialization at primary school level would start next term. Speaking when he featured on ZNBC TV Sunday interview, Dr Kalumba bemoaned the workload on primary school teachers saying it was one of the reasons they (teachers) found it difficult to deliver effectively. Dr Kalumba said specialization would help teachers prepare adequately so that they could also teach effectively and conduct remedial work for learners. He said unlike in the past where teachers were required to teach in all the subjects because they did not have enough staff at that particular time, there were plenty of qualified teachers this time around. “Beginning term two, 2019 primary sections will begin specialised teaching in subjects taught at primary. It doesn’t require foreign exchange, it doesn’t require money. All is required is to manipulate the time table and looking at what the teacher is good at. “You can’t be effective when you are handling 9 subjects and that’s why maybe performance at primary schools has not been effective because our teachers have been loaded with a lot of work,” Dr Kalumba said. He said in each and every lesson, a teacher had to plan for remedial work for pupils not doing well. The PS added, “We have come up with a policy now, where a teacher who is good at Mathematics will be teaching Mathematics in Grade 5-7, by so doing, this teacher will be given enough time to prepare for the next class.” Asked why government had previously allowed school fees to be so high, Dr Kalumba said it was time to reconcile those things. “At each and every time as responsible people, you have to make a decision. Failure to make a decision, is failure to take action. When things are moving in the way that they are not supposed to move, as responsible men and women, you have to make a decision. You have to sit down and say, where are we going? “Even in our homes, some children can sometimes misbehave but as a parent, you won’t keep quiet but take certain measures to correct a situation but that does not mean you have been irresponsible. Time has come for us reconcile these thing,” he said. And Dr Kalumba has directed all government schools in Zambia to venture into production units such as fish farming, goat rearing and crop production. He said it was not right for schools to be buying vegetables and fruits when they were plenty of land to farm from.
On reducing rural-urban migration, Dr Kalumba said regional transfers shall be handled by provincial education officers (PEOs) to ensure equal distribution of teachers.