Nuusita Ashipala Oshakati-The Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) has called for the withdrawal of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act, saying that it deprives the majority of Namibian children of basic services in education and health. The teachers’ union further said the Act in question favours the elite and does not address the needs of the majority of Namibians. Nantu president Simeon Kavila said the union was equally concerned by the fact that many teaching positions remain vacant, therefore causing overcrowding in classrooms. “It is very much disappointing to see the lack of proper planning especially in budget cuts. [This] is hampering the smooth service delivery such as teaching, non-availability of the teaching and learning materials in schools and overcrowded classrooms,” Kavila said. “If the government could properly plan and prioritise the needs of the country we would not have experience the situation that we find ourselves now,” said Kavila. Kavila made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by the Nantu vice-president Joseph Dinyando at the World Teacher’s Day celebration at held at Oshakati yesterday. The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, in response, said the ministry has so far 3000 vacant positions on its records but would only fill them once it has satisfied itself that such vacancies are not ‘ghost positions’. As a result the ministry is in the process of establishing the number of teachers available in the system. She acknowledged that some schools are overstaffed while others are understaffed but given the predicament of ghost teachers in the system advertising these positions will be preceded by proper checks and balances. “I know some of you may be frustrated but going forward we need to clear the system and establish the number of teachers in the system and then we can advertise,” the minister assured the teachers swiftly. She said the ministry cannot deny the challenges the teachers are facing and assured that there are efforts to address their plight such as housing. “During my regional visits to schools, I witnessed and experienced the situation on the ground. I realised that many teachers feel unappreciated and unwanted. I gathered that teachers do not feel anyone listens to them. I saw the economic difficulties of many teachers. I saw the appalling housing conditions of some of the teachers, the shacks and zinc dwellings where they have to brave the harsh elements of either extreme heat or bitter cold weather. During the rainy season, most of you cross the flood plains to go to school to educate the Namibian child,” said Hanse-Himarwa. The minister assured that her ministry will accelerate the implementation of the plan to develop infrastructure across the country. This year’s World Teachers Day was celebrated under the theme “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers.” The event was attended by hundreds of teachers and entertained by learners and cultural groups.
2017-10-06 09:23:47 11 months ago