ONGWEDIVA – The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Alfred Ilukena has dismissed claims that the ministry has forgotten about the District Education Officers (DEOs), who allege their salaries were downgraded when the re-grading exercise was implemented in 2013.
The DEOs told New Era that they are yet to enjoy the windfalls of re-grading, with some alleging that their superiors informed them that government forgot to adjust their payments accordingly.
“We were told we were forgotten and that we do not have a Personnel Administration Measure,” related a source.
The education ministry is not the employer, but the supervisor, Ilukena said. “Unless they want to say the Office of the Prime Minister has forgotten them, we are not the employers we are just supervisors,” said Ilukena.
The DEOs accuse the education ministry of downgrading them from Grade Eight to Grade Nine and they are also unhappy that their wages were reduced without their consent or even consultation.
Further information revealed that some staff members were moved from T3B, which is a degree level to T3A – equivalent to diploma level.
Sources that spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said the salaries of the DEOs in Oshikoto were reduced last year while the pay of those in Ohangwena will be reduced soon.
Salaries were slashed from N$2 800 to N$3 000.
“Some of us have assets and the downgrading of the salaries will have a major impact? Should we tell the banks to come get them already,” stated a source.
However, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education argued that it cannot be possibly true as the adjustment of salaries should not be worsened or graded lower than before.
Ilukena said since the implementation of salary adjustment in 2013, departments were given an opportunity to appeal against the new structures. However, his office has not received the appeals.
“No one has been forgotten, all the job categories in the Ministry of Education were submitted during the regrading period and where the regrading did not come out in their favour, an explanation and a chance to appeal was given,” argued Ilukena.
According to Ilukena, the Ministry of Education has set up a taskforce to look into the issue of whether the DEOs (previously known as District Literacy Promoters (DLOs)), are rightly classified or whether they should be re-graded to Grade Six.
“However, to implement this we need to understand the role and the responsibility of the DLOs in order to determine the classification,” noted Ilukena.
According to the DEOs, attempts to get their concerns heard proved futile, as they were moved from one office to the next.
“We want answers because this is discouraging people to pursue a career in adult education or even to study further. We also want to be given clear titles because some people are called resource officers, DLO while some are called teacher E or F,” a source told New Era.