In January 2021 the Ohangwena Regional Chairperson of Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU) Mr George Hafilwa addressed a statement to the union’s regional structures outlining some of the pressing issues the union will be handling in the course of the year.

Below here is a portion of the communiqué:

“We have noted with grave concern that teachers’ accommodations are putting teachers in debt unnecessarily.

“Somewhere the system fails or causes to fail in implementing the rationale and process of entering into official accommodation and as a consequence of the system’s failure the burden is put on the shoulders of the teachers occupying these houses.

“We are committed to redress this matter through amicable means.

“For the meantime, teachers who are said to be in arrears are advised to look for alternative accommodation. We advocate for these houses to attract and retain qualified teachers at school, not the other way round.

“The current staffing norm is dictated by the Public Service Management Circular 25 of 2001. The Circular provides for the teacher/learner ratio as: Primary Schools (grade1-7): 1:35 including Principal and HOD. Secondary Schools (grade 8-12): 1:30 including Principal and HOD.

“For Combined Schools the norm is applied accordingly, 1 teacher to 35 learners for grades 1 to 7 and 1 teacher to 30 learners for grade 8 to 12.

“The norm prescribes when a school qualifies for a Principal and HOD post as per the number of learners enrolled. There is a provision for additional teachers including Life Skills and Technical Subjects teachers. The norm further describes the manner in which a school can qualify for support staff members (an Administrative Officer and Cleaners).

“For the above basic information on human resources we are hereby calling on our members to analyse their schools’ situations.

“The Government is ‘apparently’ committed to contain the wage bill. The education sector is said to be saturated by human resources. Schools are said to be overstaffed and teachers are transferred or cause to be transferred leaving other teachers overburdened with teaching loads including subjects that they are not specialized for.

“The situation is exaggerated to the point where teachers are weighed down in the processes of reducing the wage bill. We are therefore calling upon our members to take necessary steps to refuse or avoid to be burdened unnecessarily due to poor planning by those running the system.

“Let us teach subjects we qualified for, teach normal class groups as per the norm and we should only accept delegations that are necessary to the cause of our career and professional growth. We got into the education sector firstly for employment in order to be paid and put bread on the table.

“The notion of doing it for the love of the Namibian Child is overemphasized and used to manipulate us for the one-sided advantage of the system. The current situation is pushing us towards BASIC WORK FOR BASIC SALARY.

“Our primary duties are: lesson planning; teach subjects we qualified for and assess per assessment policy as found on Subjects and Class Management. The rest are extras; and we shall soon apply the principles of Quid Pro Quo as it is in the common law (something for something).”

In the photo: Mr George Hafilwa, the Ohangwena Regional Chairperson of NANTU.