As the country grapples with an economic crisis and the education sector being one of the worst hit areas with few teachers, who are underpaid and demotivated, Teach for Zimbabwe is filling the gap through their teacher capacity development programs.
Teach for Zimbabwe, a non governmental organisation is involved in teacher leadership development, mentorship in order to improve morale and reduce staff turnover in the education sector, which is saddled with a plethora of problems that the Government is failing to address due to the shrinking economy.
The program brings a diverse set of leaders to teach for two years in Zimbabwe’s highest-need communities, imparting critical skills to go and influence change in their respective schools and communities.
Speaking in Chiredzi recently during the second graduation ceremony of 41 recipients and attended by The Midweek Watch as well, Teach for Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Dr Miriam Farai Siwela said her organization was born out of the need to address some of the most imminent challenges that the education sector was facing especially in leadership and capacity building, complimenting government efforts in the sector.
“We are here to compliment government policy of holistic education which is not only about the academic the but the wholesome development of the child in different areas such as sports, motivation, moral development, psycho social aspects which we call in education, 5 domains of education, “Dr Siwela said.
” When we come in as Teach for Zimbabwe, we make sure that the fellows we are sending out meaningfully impact their schools/ societies in different ways and areas and also motivate their students and schools to excel in the process,” she added.
Dr Siwela also lamented the lack of funding which is slowing down their work as they are paying the teachers to be in schools.
“We would love to cover the whole country but due to funding constraints we are still in a few districts across the country such as Chiredzi, Binga, Chivi, Mutoko among others, but I’m proud to say in Chiredzi we have managed to partner with Malilangwe Trust in some of our work,” she said.
Speaking during the same occasion Chiredzi District Schools Inspector, Agness Mudavaviri commended Teach for Zimbabwe for collaborating with the district in incentivising their teachers which has gone a long in ensuring motivated staff was available in schools as the district has a critical shortage of teachers.
“I’m happy to say that Teach for Zimbabwe has been collaborating with us as Chiredzi District so that we achieve our targets towards our national vision for the education sector.
“Teach for Zimbabwe has complimented our staffing in schools by bringing highly qualified young men and women,” she added.
President of the graduating class, Gabriel Mukunga a Chemistry teacher at Mufakose High School in Triangle, said the fellows were coming out better people as they received training in entrepreneurship, community development, digital skills and classroom management, among others.
“It was a worthwhile experience working with Teach for Zimbabwe and I’m proud to say we are coming out better people as we were imparted with skills such as entrepreneurship and digital which we are applying on our everyday lives.
” We were also taught classroom management techniques and told to be leaders in our schools and create leaders within our students,” he said.
During the two year training period, fellows were required to document their progress in classes and respective communities showing the changes they were noticing.
They were also required to start income generating projects, acquire drivers licenses and passports network with other young leaders from other counties.
Teach for Zimbabwe is a branch of the global nonprofit organisation, Teach for All, that focuses on bringing diverse, innovative education to disadvantaged children in Zimbabwe through educators: qualified teachers from diverse backgrounds who are trained, compensated and stationed in high need local districts.
These educators commit to a two-year term at the school, a period during which both teachers and students become better equipped to navigate Zimbabwe’s education system.
Given that many rural, impoverished regions lack the means to hire and sustain teachers, numerous rural school districts lack educators in general or lack qualified educators.
Statistics indicate that as of June 2022, Zimbabwe faced a shortage of more than 40,000 teachers. Having highly qualified teachers in rural schools will elevate the quality of education for rural students, potentially impacting their academic outcomes and education completion rates