Albertina Nakale WINDHOEK - Despite the fact Namibia having made significant inroads to achieving an adult literacy target of at least 95 percent, Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) feels the situation will not improve as adult education officers are treated unfairly compared to their colleagues in formal education. In 2014, UNESCO report placed Namibia among the countries that are showing slow progress or moving away from target in terms of likelihood of countries meant to have achieved an adult literacy target of at least 95 percent by 2015. TUN secretary general Mahongora Kavihuha last Thursday said this situation does not show any improvement but there are clear indications of it getting worse if stakeholders are not intervening as a matter of urgency. It is against this background TUN 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 a Degree in Adult Education. He was adamant adult education officers are treated unfairly compared to their colleagues in formal education. TUN also noticed some district education officers are appointed on Grade 8 as per their appointment letters but are not paid at the level. Others he 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 and instructed to pay back. Kavihuha 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. He also touched on the lack of uniform salary (allowance) scale among promoters across regions. Some regions pay their promoters N$ 3877 while others are still paying the old salary which is N$2981.04 per month. It was found 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. “While some regions are rightly placed at Grade 8 and enjoy Grade 8 benefits. To this end, we have given the Prime Minister up to 30 days notice as per section 33 of the Public Service Act to rectify these by placing all education officers on Grade 8 without delay. Stopping deduction from the said education officers with immediate effect. Refund all the money unlawfully deducted within 30 working days. Pay all outstanding overtime to all the education officers forthwith,” he remarked. He reasoned that the entry post is Grade 8 for education officers as per the Personnel Administration Measures (PAM), however 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 qualifications 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. “This matter was already discussed with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the Public Service Commission, however, to our surprise we have learned from the Public Service Commission that the office of the Permanent Secretary of Education is refusing or deliberately not giving input to the Public Service Commission for them to deliberate on and act. We regard this as compromising the principle of good governance from the side of the Ministry of Education,” he reacted. TUN has given the office of the Permanent Secretary in the education ministry to ascertain and revert to them not later than July 16, 2018 with tangible directives on all issues raised.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-11 09:12:51 7 months ago