Several lecturers and teachers who had returned to Zimbabwe after many years working in the diaspora have been forced to return to foreign lands after battling to secure jobs locally despite a shortage of teachers, The Standard can reveal.

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By PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI

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Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) executive director John Mufukare confirmed that there had been initiatives to woo back teachers from the diaspora.

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“I can assure you efforts have been made to sensitise the diasporans to come back home but I am not privy to what has taken place,” he said.

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Mufakare said talks to recall those who have been working abroad have been going on in “fairly serious academic corridors” with those who could teach in universities targeted in the initiative.

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It is understood, however, that those who left the country at the height of the hyper-inflationary era around 2008 and 2009 could only be re-admitted as temporary teachers while they processed applications for full-time employment.

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Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavhima recently said government had put in place a vigorous screening process which he described as normal.

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“The process is very normal,” he said. “It is followed by most employers before engaging employees that would have left before . . . certain redeployment procedures have to be followed.”

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In September last year, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education rushed to fill in over 10 000 vacant teaching posts with temporary teachers as thousands of qualified teachers were still awaiting re-engagement as promised.

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Teachers’ unions demanded that the Civil Service Commission (CSS) should do away with all the bureaucratic hurdles and quickly re-engage the teachers who left the profession between 2000 and 2009.

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Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports say similar developments were obtaining in the private sector where scores of professionals who had returned to the country in the hope of filling vacant specialist jobs have flown back to the diaspora after target companies failed to open and even more companies in the industries closed.

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Hundreds of professional Zimbabweans had planned to return to Zimbabwe after the 2013 elections hoping that the economy would have reawakened but when that did not happen, those that had made early flights went back while the others chose to remain where they were.