While I acknowledge the importance of mathematics and science in our country, I have a problem and some reservations on the issue of offering scarce skills allowance to teachers who are holding diploma as their highest qualification.
Paying Diploma holders scarce skills allowance is a threat of academic murder and undermining these important subjects. I am a student teacher in one of the junior schools around phikwe sub region. I have seen some of the so called scarce skilled teachers failing to teach students basic skills of mathematics and science. Some of these teachers cannot even express themselves in the elementary language of these subjects. They teach these subjects in Setswana hence making it very difficult for the students to understand the concepts. Some of them do not even understand that an allowance can be terminated at any time, they have the tendency of boasting that they earn more than some senior teachers who are not getting scarcce skills allowance. This also a pain to some degree holders who are teaching other important subjects like English but they are not recognised.
We live in a free market society and increasing the qualification and remuneration of teachers teaching scarce skills subjects will motivate more intelligent and hard working learners to take up mathematics and as a career in the teaching force. First degree should be the minimum requirement for scarce skills in teaching because the aim is to produce more learners and manpower in this so called hard subject.
It mus be noted that these diploma holders who are enjoying scarce skills allowance for doing nothing did not perform well in their final secondary grades that is why they coukd not qualify for degree entry. Now to label them scarce and pay the huge allowances when they are murdering our learners is a mockery.
Some mathematics and science teachers holding diploma no longer see the need of upgrading themselves because they are very comfortable with the allowance. Some were fortunately admitted at UB during 2012 mass admission for teachers unfortunately some returned empty handed because they could not cope with the tough subjects and they are now enjoying the scarce skills allowance. Some, I am informed, declined to go for further studies because to them there was no need because they are already earning more than a degree holder. The ministry of education must stop wasting the government funds with immediate effect. Currently there are so many teachers carrying diploma in the streets hence diploma is no longer scarce. The ministry must qualify the scarce skills by paying degree holders only. If the ministry wants bright teachers to remain in the schools they must pay scarce skills allowance to the deserving people.