Windhoek – In an unprecedented move the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) secretary general Mahongora Kavihuha has urged the government to get rid of what he termed “useless positions” such as those of school inspectors and examination officers and redefine the roles and operations of subject advisors.
This, he says, would result in cost cutting.
TUN proposed the revision of the ministerial organogram, especially the one that deals with academic and support services.
Kavihuha says he does not understand how an inspector of education, which is an entry post, can ever supervise a school principal who is already in a promoted position.
The Personnel Administration Measures (PAM) under the Office of the Prime Minister, as amended on April 1, 2013, clearly stipulate the job description of an inspector of education. They state that the job category includes personnel involved with the executing of inspections of school, setting of national school standards and the in-service training of principals, heads of department and teachers.
Kavihuha challenged the job description, saying that it does not even say “Go and supervise the school principal.” Instead, it states organise in-service training, he said.
“It’s wrong to say they must go and supervise school principals. Maybe they do it deliberately to confuse people or they are not aware. This position of school inspector is useless, it doesn’t work. All inspectors do is coordinate, nothing else,” he maintained.
Kavihuha said the duties of school inspectors are too shallow to supervise school principals whose job descriptions are of a multiple nature such as accountability, promotion of an effective learning environment, leading and managing staff, effective deployment of staff and resources, interaction with stakeholders and administrative duties.
“How do you advise a teacher if you haven’t touched a thermometer in seven years? How do you expect regions to perform well with such inspectors? Some of these positions are just there to milk the government. These positions should be turned into an assessment officer,” he remarked.
The country is in the process of implementing a revised curriculum in order to respond to the national needs by improving the quality of the education system.
However, TUN says that without a proper responsive support system for the revised curriculum the efforts will be void.
Kavihuha also said it’s disturbing that the management of teachers is still in a bad state and that very little is being done to improve efficiency.
According to him, teachers still do not have proper accommodation while they are required to perform tasks they are not rewarded for as they should be per public service rules.
“They are victimised when they have to enjoy their entitlements like compassionate and annual vacation leave. They are transferred by force, receive late payments, do not receiving appointment letters on time, there are no salary advances, late payment of retired teachers, the list is endless,” he charged.
Furthermore, he said approximately 30 000 teachers in Namibia do not have a proper register in terms of their employment history.
“With an approximately 30 000 teachers you cannot be told when did that teacher start working, what his or her qualifications are, his or her current salary before going to the files which contain yellow papers, and/or when the person was referred to that specific region. Conclude for yourself what I mean,” he said.
He also expressed dissatisfaction with the education ministry for last year attempting to change the school calendar regarding June 16 – the World Teachers Day commemoration that is also supported by UNESCO.
‘Remember how they were running around like headless chickens trying to stop AR (Affirmative Repositioning) from demonstrating,” he reacted.