WINDHOEK - Teachers’ Union of Namibia (TUN) has emphasised that adult education is a priority in Namibia and should therefore be taken seriously.
“We are serious about the education and progress of this republic. We have to smoke out lazy individuals within the public sector so that Namibia can prosper. It is very important that is why we are marching across the whole country. That’s why we have decided to boycott the main event on Friday,” noted the secretary-general of TUN, Mahongora Kavihuha.
Kavihuha made the remarks on Thursday during a peaceful demonstration where the group of unhappy adult education practitioners staged a peaceful demonstration at Government Park over some pending issues relating to their wellbeing.
The group also refused to participate in any official organised events of Literacy Week celebrations held on Friday.
They vowed not to partake in any of the Literacy Week events because their demands have apparently not been met by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture regarding their salary grading.
The unhappy adult education officers feel they are treated unfairly compared to their colleagues in formal education.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Ndinelao Nekongo said they are demanding that all education officers be without further delay placed in their rightful levels as per the Personnel Administration Measures (PAM), which is Grade 8.
“Adult education officers are education officers who have to be placed in Grade 8 and without discrimination like any other position within the government for example, director, PS,” Nekongo noted.
TUN recently undertook visits to most regions in Namibia with the purpose of engaging with the adult education practitioners mainly district education officers (Adult Education or Lifelong Learning and Promoters).
He said many adult education officers at Grade 9 find it difficult to apply for senior positions because there is a gap between the senior and education officer with degree in Adult Education.
TUN also noticed some district education officer are appointed on Grade 8 as per their appointment letters but are not paid at the level.
Others Kavihuha maintained are appointed on a Grade 8 paid at that level for several years and without following procedures and their salaries were downgraded to Grade 9 salaries and instructed to pay back.
He said there is lack of proper directive that have to guide the agreement between adult education division and formal education regarding the use of classroom and other utilities, adding many schools do not allow literacy classes to take place during holidays.
Another issued he touched on is lack of uniform salary (allowance) scale among promoters across regions.
Some regions pay their promoters N$3 877.00 while others are still paying the old salary which is N$2 981.04 per month.
It was found that there is a serious need for policies and curriculum revision and upgrades.
He said there is a claim that adult education officers working after hours are not entitled to claim overtime because apparently it is part of their duties which is devoid of any truth and illegal.
Equally, many adult education officers at Grade 9 find it difficult to apply for senior positions because there is a gap between the senior and education officer with degree in adult education.
He reasoned that the entry post is Grade 8 for education officers as per the PAM, however the education officer for formal education, only start with senior positions of “Grade 6”. Further, he said most senior positions in adult education division are filled by people from or with formal education qualification who do not have adult education background, and sometimes this is regarded as dumping ground for those that fail somewhere.
He called on the extension of the literacy promoter’s contract from 10 months to at least 3 years.