Albertina Nakale Windhoek-Over 500 qualified teachers who are roaming the streets without jobs are demanding that the government removes all the unqualified teachers in public schools with immediate effect so that they can occupy those positions. The qualified but unemployed teachers also demand that the government, through respective regions, should conduct a survey to collect data to find out which schools have unqualified teachers and remove them “as soon as possible from those posts and call in qualified ones”. The unemployed graduates from the University of Namibia last month wrote a letter to the education ministry permanent secretary, Sanet Steenkamp, expressing their dismay that unqualified teachers occupy teaching posts at their expense. Initially the government was concerned about the shortage of teachers when it introduced the system of In-Service Training (INSET) at Unam and awarded a five-year contract to unqualified teachers. Currently, close to 1,000 practicing junior primary teachers are enrolled in the programme, with the same number again to be enrolled each year over the next three years. The unemployed graduates are up in arms that the government is responsible for the study fees of those that are in INSET and yet they are earning their monthly salaries which makes it hard for the new graduates to secure employment. They demand that the INSET programme be halted as the country is producing more qualified teachers each year. They say those that are in the programme should go for full-time studies. “The posts that currently have unqualified teachers should be terminated and replace them with those that are qualified. Directors must not sign recommendation forms for unqualified teachers that principals bring to them, by this reason they are taking advantage of those that are qualified, but are not related to principals, it’s hard for those teachers to be recommended by principals (sic),” the teachers petitioned. Steenkamp, in an interview with New Era yesterday, rejected these demands, saying they cannot remove these unqualified teachers because they are on a five-year contract. “I discussed the issue with one person who came to my office to drop the letter. I explained the recruitment process to him. I told him that some of their demands cannot be met because one of the demands is that we cancel the contracts that we have with INSET which we cannot do. It’s an employment contract that we have with the prime minister’s office,” Steenkamp responded. She said they have shared the list of names of these qualified teachers with the regional directors that should any position be open, they will be called based on their area and field of specialization. In December, the Khomas Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture cancelled 75 teaching vacancies from the initially advertised 409 vacancies. These cancelled vacancies include about 19 head of department posts and 56 teaching posts. This also comes at a time when the government had just announced that over 2,500 teaching posts are up for grabs following immense pressure from students led by Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) secretary general Mahongora Kavihuha to release the delayed annual Teaching Vacancy Bulletin for 2018.
New Era Reporter
2018-02-20 08:51:05 9 months ago