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This Week in The Khuta – Teachers deserve better

They say a hungry employee is an angry employee. The teachers strike is a good example for that statement. While high government officials are living a good life, the ones actually doing the job are left to suffer.
Many will agree when I say that the teachers at pre-primary, primary school and high school are the ones who laid the foundation of our future. They have shaped us into the people we are today. Teachers deserve to be amongst the highest paid employees in this country.
I think the Government should take the teachers concerns into consideration and stop the blame game. It is not about who is right and who is wrong, it is about the future of the learners who are affected by the teachers strike.
Teachers are probably the most patient people I know. Have you ever tried explaining something to someone over and over again, and not stopping until the person actually understands what you mean? How annoying is that? But that is a scenario every teacher knows only too well. I remember how my teachers at school would come into a class full of disinterested learners but still, they did not say “well, you do not want to listen or keep quiet, I am going home.” No, they would get us to listen to them one way or another.
A friend of mine wrote on Facebook this week “our SWAPO leaders do not care about the leaders of tomorrow, that is why our kids are on the streets and their (the leaders)kids in classes at the private schools. Vision 2030?.” It is not as if the Government cannot afford to give the teachers the increment they want. Why is it difficult for the Government to make this sacrifice and invest in the future of the future leaders of this country.
The Government has money to bail out institutions such as the NBC and Air Namibia, institutions which are supposed to be generating their own money. Why should the public servants especially the teachers suffer at the benefit of others?.
One teacher said that after she pays all her expenses, she is left with only N$45. It breaks my heart to know that this teacher might not be able to give her all to her learners because she is so worried about how she will make it through the month. Who does not know that the cost of living is high lately?
Education Permanent Secretary Alfred Ilukena told a daily newspaper that there was no deal between the government and the striking teachers on the payment of salaries for the period they were not at work, nor will disciplinary actions be dropped.
He said that he was not consulted on that and that these conditions were never communicated to his team thus they do not know anything about it. It’s automatic that in terms of the Public Service Act, if a teacher stayed away from school without leave, then it’s considered leave without pay (you don’t get paid). That is the normal practice and it will apply. If you were not in school, you expect to be paid for what?.
Dear, Mr Ilukena, maybe, just maybe if you paid your staff a little better, the Ministry of Education would not be trending on Google as such a large number of people are following the issue on news sites right now. And the learners would not have spent the past weeks at home or in the streets and everyone would have been happy.
Now we all know why our learners are failing at school – because the teachers are not motivated.  Instead of concentrating on their work, they are too worried about their financial problems. Give the teachers the increment they want, and next year you will have the highest pass rate ever seen in this country.

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