Mr. Batholomew Kasamika in class teaching Grade 3 learners literacy. Photo: TaRL Africa
It all began as a simple volunteer exercise in teaching Sunday School children at his local church. From helping them recite Bible verses and composing songs that would enable them to remember Bible stories. His efforts were noticed by the church leadership as well as parents who pointed out his gift of teaching. The more he taught, the more his passion grew and that is how Mr. Bartholomew Kasamika, a Catch Up teacher at Bimbe Primary School in Lusaka, Zambia, knew he was cut out for teaching.
“When I completed High school, I went straight to a teaching college because I was sure that was my calling,” said Mr. Kasamika.
Like many young men his age, he was discouraged from pursuing teaching as a career, because people said that teachers are poorly paid. However, this did not kill his dream. 20 years into the profession, Mr. Kasamika looks back with nostalgia on how teaching has transformed post the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Learning continued in other developed countries that had better internet connectivity through zoom lessons. I teach in a rural school where access to the internet is a challenge and learning was temporarily suspended during the pandemic,” said Mr. Kasamika.
This Year’s World Teachers’ Day theme “The transformation of education begins with teachers” highlights the crucial role teachers and educators play in the response to the learning crisis and educational disruptions. Many teachers had to re-organize and adapt teaching and learning processes, in particular those related to online and remote education, and take part in activities to safeguard the material safety of learners and their families, providing socio-emotional and psychological support to students and their families.
Mr. Kasamika who is also a Zonal Inservice Coordinator (ZIC), coordinates schools in his jurisdiction on Catch Up and supports the continuous capacity building of teachers to ensure they are growing in their profession as he sees to it that learning continues in schools in his zone.
“The world is now a global village. As teachers, we need to invest in technology because we are the vehicles of transformation and we cannot lag behind,” said Mr. Kasamika.
Zambia’s New Dawn government fulfilled its main electoral pledge to make primary and secondary education free in its first six months in office. Thousands more learners nationwide have been enrolled in full-time school as of January 2022. This has consequently increased the population of children in school.
“I am most proud when I meet my former students who have completed basic education and are pursuing their careers. I get motivated to do more,” proudly said Mr. Kasamika.