The Zambian government has embarked on a vigorous drive to recruit thousands of new teachers this year and to buy teaching materials.
President Levy Mwanawasa said on Saturday that funds have already been set aside in this year's budget for the Ministry of Education to recruit 7,000 teachers and support staff who will be posted in new and upgraded schools.
He was speaking this when he opened a newly constructed school in Masaiti district of Copperbelt province.
The president was quoted by the state-owned Zambia News and Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) as saying the government has recruited over 8,500 teachers in the fist half of 2005 and the Ministry of Education has just completed recruitment of more than 3,000 teachers.
And Education Minister Brian Chituwo said earlier that the recruitment exercise would be done in phases and would continue until the target of 7,000 is achieved.
He said the recruitment exercise would take three phases to fill up vacancies left by teachers that have retired or have died.
The Zambian government is striving to achieve an overall pupil- teacher ratio of 45 to one by 2007, the minister said.