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Teachers want bush allowance level raised

2022-09-29  Festus Hamalwa

Teachers want bush allowance level raised

ONGWEDIVA – Teachers at Ekoka Combined School are unhappy that their monthly bush allowance is N$600 less than what they feel they deserve.

The teachers claim they used to get N$1 750, as their bush allowance was evaluated at category A – but now, they receive N$1 150 after the school has been re-evaluated to category B in 2015.

Ekoka Combined School is situated in Ekoka village in Okongo constituency in the Ohangwena region.

The bush allowance is the money that is paid to government employees who work in rural areas.

A teacher, who has worked at the school for 26 years, said it is not fair that some teachers in remote areas are getting bush allowances in category A while they get their bush allowance in category B.

“We are also teaching in remote areas like other teachers. We are also facing enormous challenges at our school,” she lamented.

Another teacher told New Era he is not happy teaching in a rural school but they are not getting the same bush allowance.

“Ohangwena education directorate didn’t inform us that our bush allowance will be cut. When we started working, they gave us appointment letters that say we will get the allowance in category A,” he said.

He stressed it is not easy to work in remote areas, as they have to encounter various challenges, such as insufficient water, bad roads and poor network connectivity.

“We are no longer buying vehicles, since the roads are very bad. We fetch water at the community borehole, where it’s always full of people and livestock,” he stressed.

Another angry teacher said they have written letters of complaint regarding their situation to the education director’s office, but the issue has not yet been resolved.

“There are many schools in Ohangwena with the same situation as our school, but their teachers receive a bush allowance in category A,” he added.

Therefore, teachers have appealed to the education ministry to pay their money back, which has been deducted since 2015.

When approached for comment, Ohangwena education director Isak Hamatwi said the teachers’ bush allowance was reduced after some investigations were conducted regarding the condition of the school.

“There are rules and regulations to be followed on the evaluation of the teachers’ allowance categories,” he said.

Hamatwi stressed the level of teachers’ bush allowance depends on how remote the school is to the nearest town as well as the hardship teachers have to endure, including their living conditions.

The categories used to be evaluated at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). 

He further said the salary for civil servants is determined by the OPM; therefore, he does not have any power to decide whether some teachers should get more bush allowance than others. “I have raised the issue at the OPM, and I am still waiting for feedback on it,” he said. He added there are many schools in Ohangwena in the rural areas that are still receiving a bush allowance in category B – the same as Ekoka.-

2022-09-29  Festus Hamalwa

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