The management and school board members at Hungua Primary School in north-western Kunene Region stand accused of practising tribalism and nepotism at the school.
The latest of events involve an incident in which a teacher was dismissed after he brawled with another teacher a week ago.
In a separate incident at the seemingly troubled school, another teacher was suspended on Monday for allegedly smelling of liquor.
Katusi Vincent, who was dismissed after being involved in a fight with another teacher, said he was informed verbally of his suspension. However, he has not been issued with any suspension letter.
Vincent added that the school board decided to dismiss him after it convened a disciplinary hearing in Otjiherero, prejudicing his case as he says he does not speak nor does he understand the language.
Members of the school board do not speak English.
“I do not speak Otjiherero, but the hearing with the school board members was conducted in Otjiherero and I did not understand the proceedings. The teacher whom I had the confrontation with was told to apologise and I was told to leave the school,” related Vincent.
According to Vincent, the confrontation was sparked by some unfounded rumours. “The female teacher came to my room to enquire about stories that she apparently heard from my room. I repeatedly told her to leave, but all that proved futile. I admit picking her up and slapping her for pouring beer over me and for trying to hit me with the bottle. I also admit hitting her room door with a hammer. She also admitted her wrong-doing, but she was asked to apologise and I to leave the school,” related the aggrieved teacher.
Although the Office of the Permanent Secretary informed Vincent to return to school and resume duty, the principal prevented him from executing his duties on Monday asking him to respect the school board’s decision – which the principal interestingly says overrides that of the permanent secretary.
“Upon my return from the office of the permanent secretary, I was still informed not to attend any classes and it was then that I was informed that I have been suspended for two weeks,” said Vincent.
Apart from these incidents, sources accuse the school management of maladministration of school resources, including funds.
“There are only certain cars that are used at the school to ferry school needs from Opuwo to the school and for a distance of about 127 km each vehicle is paid between N$2 400 and N$2 600,” said a source.
In addition, teachers at the school are not allowed to air their views or make suggestions that contribute to the development at the school.
“Developmental issues at that school are not welcome. If you comment on anything in a meeting at that school, you are told to shut up and that is unprofessional,” said a source.
Similarly, teachers who express their views against school management decisions are also told to leave the school, New Era has learnt.
The principal at the school, Marikambura Tjivikua, could not be reached for comment because the school’s phone went unanswered for two days and the area where the school is located does not have mobile cell phone coverage.
Education Director of Kunene Region Simon Tsuseb said the teachers were not dismissed but that “they were sort of illegally suspended”,
Tsuseb explained that only the permanent secretary could recommend the dismissal. He said that the school has already been instructed to reinstate the two teachers and he is surprised the principal is ignorant on education rules.
“As we speak, the teachers are at the school. We have informed the school board through the school that they are procedures to be followed if there are grievances,” stated Tsuseb.
Tsuseb promised to investigate the allegations levelled against the school. He said everyone has the right to express their concerns in any organisational set up without being punished.
He further said it is important for people in an organisation to exchange views and discuss issues of mutual concern including finance and administration.
“But if that is true, we will rectify the situation because this is uncalled for,” said Tsuseb.