SPECIAL Education Teachers Union (SPETUZ) has hailed the abolishment of tuition, Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and examination fees that learners pay in public schools.
SPETUZ executive director Frankson Musukwa charged that the move to abolish the said fees would enable learners with disabilities, from low income households to attain education and proceed to tertiary without difficulties.
Mr. Musukwa said owing to the critical shortage of teachers in special schools in the country with a teacher-pupil ratio estimated at 1 to 90, there was need for the Government to consider allocate 10,000 jobs to qualified special education teachers and those with disabilities from the targeted 30,000 earmarked to be deployed next year.
This he said would go a long way in reducing the teacher-pupil ratio being experienced in special schools in the country.
“As a teacher union, we welcome the abolishment of exam fees, tuition fees as well as PTA levies, as these were a hindrance to the academic progression for most of our learners and the youth with disabilities, most of them were beyond reach of the said fees due to high poverty levels in their households,” he said.
Mr. Musukwa said out of the 120 secondary schools earmarked to be constructed countrywide, the Government should ensure 20 of them were boarding schools, tailor made with adaptive modifications for easy accessibility to learners with special needs.
He said this was because the country does not have a single special boarding school specifically constructed by the Government for learners with special needs and disabilities apart from those run by churches and private organisations.
Mr. Musukwa also appealed to the Government to be inclusive in the disbursement of these funds so that special education needs learners and persons with disabilities could also benefit from the incentives.
He also implored the Government to also consider upgrading serving teachers who had acquired higher qualifications in various fields of study to their appropriate and correct salary scales before recruiting the 30, 000 teachers.