Teachers threaten to destabilise education ministry

06 October 2017 Author   Kaula Nhongo
The Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) has threatened to make the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture ungovernable if it fails to release the 2018 vacancy list by the end of this week.
Speaking in an interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, the combative TUN Secretary General, Mahongora Kavihuha, said the ministry has until end of this week to release the list or face consequences.
Kavihuha said he currently consulting with members in the regions on the way forward if their demands are not met, adding that some members have suggested a national demonstration and a one-day strike.
The union leader said that Government has no intentions to release the vacancy list because it wants to cut costs by increasing the current teachers’ workload.
“The problem is that Government has adopted a structural adjustment programme called compensatory reduction approach meant to cut costs, thus they will just pile excess workload on the existing teachers and not recruit for new posts next year,” he said.
The TUN secretary general said that he fears that come next year, schools will have a teacher to learner ratio of 1:60 in classrooms if Government does not recruit more teachers.
“The regions are submitting lists of vacancies to head office and head office is asking where to cut costs. They do not care about quality education and the impact on the children,” he said.
Kavihuha accused Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Permanent Secretary, Sanet Steenkamp, of adopting divide and rule tactics where only the PS only consults institutions and trade unions that are “dancing to her tune.”
“The approach of the current PS has pushed us to a point where we are saying enough is enough. We want to communicate it strongly to the PS of education that her action in terms of this poor delivery on their mandate will result in teachers making the ministry ungovernable. We are capable of doing that if we are pushed far,” he said.
According to Steenkamp, the vacancy list is being verified before it can be released.
“It took us longer to release it because of the savings exercise we had to introduce in February,” Steenkamp said.
She said that Kavihuha should reconsider his approach where he prefers to speak through the media instead of addressing his concerns to the ministry.
“It is not fair that he (Kavihuha) prefers to use the teachers in his fight with the ministry. We know the implications of delaying the list and we are working hard to release it,” Steenkamp said.
In August, the ministry distanced itself from the 2018 ‘vacancy list’ that was circulating on social media.
Steenkamp issued a media statement saying that the information circulating was not authentic and was never approved by the Secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa.

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