By GRACE CHAILE –
GOVERNMENT has signed a K21 million memorandum of understanding with DMI Saint Eugene University for a fast track distance learning programme to upgrade teachers’ qualifications in mathematics and science.
Education Minister John Phiri said at the weekend that 2,000 teachers would be trained in the first phase of the programme scheduled to start in March.
“The Government has reserved K21 million to upgrade teachers’ qualifications in mathematics and science through a fast track programme.
“One thousand teachers will be upgraded from certificate to diploma while the other one thousand will upgrade from diploma to degree,” he said.
Dr Phiri said equipment was being set up in all the provincial resource centres and that the selection of teachers to be trained was underway.
“This programme will allow teachers to go for residential during school holidays and, therefore, pupils will not be affected.
“The other beauty about this programme is that it will take not more than four years to complete the training. We want our teachers to move in tandem with the latest information so that they adequately pass it on to pupils,” he said.
The minister encouraged teachers in Muchinga Province to upgrade their qualifications since they had a variety of institutions of learning to choose from.
“It is not like in my time where we had to fight for places at University of Zambia or Copperbelt University. The PF Government has given you many options where to train.
“There is now Mukuba University, Chalimbana, Kwame Nkrumah and many others, so there is no excuse to remain stagnant at certificate level. Improve your qualifications from primary school level to professorship. Times are changing,” he said.
Dr Phiri also urged teachers to defend the new curriculum of teaching in local languages since they understood the benefits.
He said the new curriculum was there to remove the torture children had undergone by being taught in English in the past years.
Muchinga Province education officer Jobix Kalumba said teachers and parents in the province had welcomed the new curriculum.
He said some people had misunderstood the new curriculum because they lacked the necessary information on the matter.
Mr Kalumba said the province had taken up the challenge of holding meetings with teachers and parents to sensitise them on the curriculum.