Special Education Teachers Union of Zambia (SPETUZ) Zambia Federation of the Blind and Zambia Federation of the Disabled and the entire disability movement in Zambia are disappointed and dejected that the Government through the Teaching Service Commission and Ministry of Education has yet again left out several of our deserving teachers with disabilities and special education teachers applicants from the 2022 net national teacher recruitment exercise. In their maiden national budget presentation for 2022 last year, the UPND, alias New Dawn Government heralded and promised to employ thirty thousand teachers this year.
After protracted and sometimes controversial and flawed district-and province-based application and selection exercises commencing around march and ending in May 2022, Minister of Education Hon. Douglas Siakalima announced to the nation through public media the selection and employment of thirty thousand four hundred ninety-six (30,496) successful teacher recruitment applicants. However, we note that this highly and widely trumpeted exercise precluded, by design, ill will, and/or otherwise, the teacher recruitment applicants with Disabilities and Special Education Teachers were deliberately left out by an act, which can best be described as discrimination, on account of their Disability. The Special Education Teachers Union of Zambia, the Zambia National Federation of the Blind, the Zambia Federation of the Disabled, and the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities have spent the last fortnight engaging Teaching Service Commission, pleading for a possible reversal of matters, rethink and inclusion of teachers with Disabilities and Special Education Teachers applicants into GRZ teaching service a matter of policy guideline for 10% reservation.
Despite submitting a detailed and comprehensive list of deserving Teachers with Disabilities and Special Education Teachers applicants as per their demand, the Commission has continued giving lip service to the matter, a clear testimony that the exclusion of the said categories of Teacher applicants was actually not a mare omission but by design and a deliberate move. We demand for a proper roadmap from the government through the Teaching Service Commission on how they will deploy the said categories of teachers after they had misappropriated the 10% allocation that had the authority of the Secretary to the Treasury.
Out of a total of 246 teacher applicants’ data base which we developed as well as about 220 Persons with Disabilities, who positively responded to the Ministry of Health recruitment advert, the Ministry of Health picked only a meagre 16 Persons with Disabilities and about 40 Persons with Disabilities from our database confirmed being picked by the Teaching Service Commission. We don’t know where the 196 teacher applicants with Disabilities announced by the Hon. Minister of Education came from, especially that there was no separate list for Persons with Disabilities. For arguments sake, teachers plus health workers will give you a total of 41,696, 10 percent of that will give you 4,169. 40 teachers with Disabilities and 16 health workers with disabilities were employed by this new dawn administration, that will only give us a total of 56 Persons with Disabilities being employed against their 10 percent entitlement of 4,169; honestly, that is unacceptable by whatever standard.
We therefore demand for a reversal of this status quo within 48 hours! As leaders of Persons with Disabilities, we think this is a total mockery to the Disability movement and we won’t sit and watch our rights being violated by Government machineries, in the name of the Teaching Service Commission and the Civil Service Commission, which are supposed to uphold and protect the rights and privileges of Persons with Disabilities. We implore His Excellency Republican President and Cabinet Office to give humane prompt and unequivocal guidance to the Teaching Service Commission and Ministry of Education in this matter. We note that actually guideline no 4 of the 2022 teacher recruitment exercise asserts, as promulgated by Teaching Service Commission, that Ten percent of the available thirty thousand vacancies for teacher recruits, or three thousand posts, would go to Persons with Disabilities, further expounding that where shortfalls occurred, special education teachers, whether non-disabled, would take up cited gaps.
In the event of dissatisfaction due to apparent inattention and ill will from authorities, we reserve the right, deservedly so, to alternative remedies, namely, Courts of Law, National Assembly, International partners and Peaceful Civil Action.
Signed by and on behalf of Frankson Musukwa Special Education Teachers Union of Zambia- President Emmanuel Mulilo Zambia National Federation for the Blind- President Justin Bbkali Zambia Federation for the Disabled- National Executive Director Lusaka – 1st August, 2022