By IREEN MULENGA
The Zambia Federation of Disabilities (ZAFOD) Director Justin Bbakali has implored government to sustain and increase the employment of qualified Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) as teachers.
Mr Bbakali said that the move is proven to be hugely beneficial to government through high retention rates among teachers with disabilities.
He said it is a well-known fact that most teachers with disabilities serve government for a longer period as they focus on securing their job, mainly because they are hardly considered for employment outside government opportunities.
Mr Bbakali has called on teacher unions to take into account that teachers with disabilities have extra needs such as higher cost of transportation, assistive devices and other requisites as they go about negotiating with employers.
He has also appealed to various District Education Boards (DEBS) across the country to ensure all schools are disability friendly by having in place ramps, sufficient lighting, wide doors and many other assistive equipment that teachers and learners with disabilities may use in their course of teaching and learning.
“ZAFOD has for a long time observed the poor rate of promotions on teachers with disabilities, it is sad that teachers with disabilities end up retiring as class teachers when they deserve promotions just like any other teacher. We hope the authorities will look into this matter as well,” he said.
Commenting on this year’s Teachers’ Day theme ‘Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery’, Mr Bbakali said that teachers are expected to pay extra attention to learners with special education needs as they hardly benefitted from E-learning services during covid-19 restrictions.
He has also called on government through the ministry of education, to come up with a deliberate policy that will promote teachers with disabilities to further their education.