Loudima staff paid for doing nothing

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-About 17 Namibian staff mostly comprising of teachers, who returned from the Loudima Institute for Technical and Vocational Training in Congo-Brazzaville during the first quarter of 2016, are still receiving their salaries.

Salaries drawn by Loudima staff idling at home run into hundreds of thousands.
Some teachers have since returned to their homes in the regions after the ministry did not respond to their request to be posted to the head office in Windhoek – while waiting on the education ministry to sort out their issue.

The Loudima institute was established with the aim to create cadres of graduates with competencies and skills in line with national and international standards in vocational training after attending a three-year course.
However, there have not been any intakes from the Namibian side over the past two years at the institution whose academic year starts in October.

The institution is supposed to absorb some of the students who didn’t make it to Grade 11. The application form states that an applicant should be in possession of a Grade 10 certificate (with minimum 20 points) and between the age of 17 and 19 years.

About 22 Namibian staff were deployed to Congo-Brazzaville but currently only five staff members, including a nurse, accountant, instructor and director, amongst other staff, remain.

During 2016, nearly 80 Namibian students also returned home after ending their studies at Loudima due to what they claim were unbearable academic and living conditions.

Only about 11 students remained at Loudima to date. New Era learnt that former Nampower managing director Paulinus Shilamba has taken over the role of director at the institute which was occupied by a Congolese national.
Shilamba also replaced the institute’s deputy director Daniel Ngodji.

“Since we left in March 2016, till now, nothing is happening. We haven’t been informed about anything by the (education) ministry,” a teacher told New Era yesterday, adding that the situation is scary as no one is saying anything.

The teacher said they are still receiving their salaries and waiting on government to sit with them and sort out their contracts, pay outstanding cost of living allowance, as was stipulated in their contracts, and update them on water and electricity provision at Loudima.

In addition, students who had returned home from Loudima in 2016 were left out in the cold by the ministry of education. The ministry at the time had advised students not opting to return to seek admission at local vocational training centres – and the ministry would explore possibilities to fund the studies at such institutions.
However, a student who returned to Namibia said this never happened as he sought placement at a local institution by himself. “That Loudima issue is like a book that was closed,” the student said.

Higher education, training and innovation permanent secretary Dr Alfred van Kent did not answer his cellphone when contacted for comment yesterday.

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