Unqualified Teachers and Under-qualified Teachers

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By Toivo Mvula

What is a professionally qualified teacher?

A qualified teacher is a teacher who holds a three-year (or more) recognised tertiary teaching qualification.

What is a professionally unqualified teacher?

A professionally unqualified teacher is a teacher who holds an academic qualification but does not have teacher training, e.g. a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree graduate.

What is a professionally under-qualified teacher?

A professionally under-qualified teacher is a teacher who holds a school qualification (e.g. a Grade 10 or Grade 12 certificate holder) or has not completed his/her tertiary education training.

Is it true that the Ministry of Education will no longer employ unqualified and under-qualified teachers as from 2008?

The Ministry of Education (Government) and the Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU), which is the recognised bargaining union for teachers in Namibia, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on December 15 1999 which stipulated that unqualified and under-qualified teachers will be given seven years until 2007 to upgrade their qualifications.
Teachers were continuously reminded to upgrade their qualifications before the grace period ends in 2007.
The issue of whether to employ unqualified and under-qualified teachers next year (2008) is still under discussion.

If these teachers are not employed, what will happen to them?

The Ministry and NANTU agreed in the same MoU that no under-qualified and unqualified teachers will be appointed as from 2008, except in exceptional cases.
These teachers will no longer enjoy protection. Their employment status will be re-considered and they will have to compete with everyone when posts are advertised.
This excludes those that have already started upgrading their qualifications before December 2007.
However, as mentioned in the previous answer, the issue is still under discussion.

What are these ‘exceptional cases’?

‘Exceptional cases’ refer to when qualified teachers do not apply for an advertised teaching post for various reasons. One of the reasons could be that they don’t want to apply for teaching posts at schools in rural areas, because of poor living conditions as well as poor teaching conditions.
If they are re-appointed?

Teachers who are unqualified or under-qualified will be employed on a temporary basis.

Why does the Ministry currently and constantly employ unqualified and under-qualified teachers if there are teachers that are qualified, but do not have jobs?

There are many factors, but the most common one is that qualified teachers do not want to apply for teaching posts at schools they don’t like, especially in the rural areas. As a result, the Ministry is forced to employ Grade 12 graduates and professionally unqualified teachers. This further results in the quality of education at these schools deteriorating and our learners failing. However, the Ministry is currently discussing, under the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP) how to attract qualified teachers to these schools.

Is a monetary incentive the answer?

Providing monetary incentives to attract teachers to rural schools is not a guarantee that quality teaching will take place at those schools.
There are incentives that could be provided, such as good teacher housing and a conducive teaching environment. However, this is still being discussed.

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