Zambia on Thursday joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Teachers’ Day, with the government saying the country needs more than 80,000 new teachers in order to balance the teacher-pupil ratio.
Minister of Education Douglas Syakalima said the government has since embarked on a teacher recruitment exercise, starting with 30,496 recruited last year and the ongoing recruitment of 4,500 teachers this year.
He said in a statement released on Thursday that the need for more teachers has been necessitated by the free education policy, which has seen an increase in school enrolment.
World Teachers’ Day falls on Oct. 5, and this year’s theme is “The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage.”
The minister said the day is set aside to appreciate the sacrifices made by teachers to ensure every child has access to quality education regardless of the child’s status and their locality.
“As we celebrate the day, the government is mindful that teachers deserve better to be motivated to provide quality service and to enjoy their rights as teachers. Teachers are also expected to be responsible and accountable to every child under their care,” he said.
Aaron Chansa, executive director of the National Action for Quality Education in Zambia, said in a statement that teachers deserve to be appreciated because of the special role they play in the country.