A cross-section of Zimbabweans has expressed concern over the decision by government to suspend recruiting temporary teachers, saying the move is a blow to the education sector.
Confusion still surrounds the employment of more than 25 000 temporary teachers whose contracts were not renewed this term after treasury directed the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture to stop recruiting.
In a survey by ZBC News, a cross-section of ordinary Zimbabweans expressed concern over the decision to suspend the recruitment of relief staff as the sector is recovering from the effects of western induced sanctions.
Some said temporary teachers have been part of the education fraternity for a long time and they questioned why government is suspending the exercise now.
â€œWe do not know the logic behind the governmentâ€™s decision to suspend the recruitment of temporary teachers given that the country is running short of qualified personnel,â€ said one parent.
Others also said the move is also a disadvantage to children who are sitting for their final examinations this year.
â€œQualified teachers are not enough to meet the countryâ€™s demand and temporary teachers are the ones who have been bridging that gap all along. This means that it is only our children who will suffer from this government decision,â€ said another parent
At least 120 000 teachers are needed at any given time for the sector to fully function, but 90 000 are on the market including temporary teachers as a result of the exodus of Zimbabweans to the diaspora.
The exodus of skilled staff including teachers has had a knock on the education sector even though Zimbabwe has retained its status as a continental leader in terms of literacy.
Meanwhile, the government has not been silent about how it is going to address theÂ shortages ofÂ staff in schools.
In a statement to ZBC last week, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, Dr Stephen Mahere said preference to fill the posts will be given to returning qualified teachers and new graduates from colleges and universities whilst temporary teachers will be required to fill the remaining vacancies.