Teachers getting raw deal
Educators seem to be getting the short end of the stick as revealed earlier this week in a report by the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) which has since been forwarded to the Minister and Permanent Secretary of Education following the union’s regional trips during May and the first week of August.
The trips were undertaken to establish and discuss the various hurdles that impede the performance of the teachers as well as to find out how helpful the Ministry of Education Regional Offices are in terms of assisting teachers with their professional challenges.
The President of the Teachers Union, Mahongora Kavihuha, who undertook the trips visited schools in the Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati, Oshikoto, Omaheke, Zambezi and Otjizondjupa Regions, with the remaining regions still under scrutiny, where he identified about 12 problems.
Kavihuha said as the findings in their report indicate, it is unreasonable to expect teachers to perform to the best levels as the education system itself is failing in terms of being supportive of the teachers at regional level.
His visit discovered that a large number of the teachers in these regions are under-qualified and lack knowledge of the basic curriculum at the school as well as the fact that teachers encountered problems at the regional offices.
“Generally, more than 80% of the teachers in primary schools, do not have a clue about the new curriculum which they have to implement in less than five months to come (2015),” he added.
“Teachers are not being informed of their leave days at all. It is the right of the teachers to know their information on their HR related issues annually. The second leave forms that are supposed to come back to the teachers are not being returned to schools for almost two years on average,” Kavihuha said referring to the denial of information to teachers by regional offices.
“Some regional offices deny teachers access to their offices for assistance, they refuse to help teachers at all,” he added.
Other issues that were found in the regions include the non or late payment of teachers, transfer issues, movement of files, probation periods and lack of professional support to just cover a few of the problems that hinder productivity of the teachers in rural areas.
“It came out clear that there were still delays in payment of the teachers on time. One teacher in the Omahake Region worked for more than four months and still did not receive his payment. Approaches of school inspectors towards teachers is unbearable, they threaten and insult teachers instead of providing support especially in the Zambezi Region,” he added.
Kavihuha said other pertinent areas in need of attention are overtime for work over weekends as well as disbursements of textbooks and funds to schools.
“We expect the Ministry of Education will take or consider this report with open mindedness and positive appraisal and act to put in place corrective measures to the shortcomings pointed out, “ he said.