The Namibian (Windhoek)

21 December 2012

Namibian Teachers Feel Insulted

"WE feel the 31% average salary increment for politicians tabled before the president recently is an insult to teachers, public servants and Namibians at large," said Ndadi, a member of the Khomas Teachers' Interim Committee that was established during last month's teachers' strike.

Mikka Ndadi expressed teachers' frustration with the education system in general, saying that it is "a strategic sell-out" by the government.

He said it was "inconsiderate and insensitive" for the Public Office Bearers Remuneration and Benefits Commission to propose a hefty 31% salary increase for politicians.

"It is a clear provocation of public servants, especially the teachers who were recently insulted with an 8% increment despite their demand of 40%."

Ndadi said the teachers' demands were said to be "unreasonable, unfair and unaffordable".

"How fair is 83% for an auditor general, more than 50% for opposition leaders and 38,7% for a prime minister? It is not fair that someone who enjoys multiple benefits gets more than N$800 000 extra on a salary. These same people are enjoying benefits such as the use of government vehicles for private activities while receiving transport and housing allowances," said Ndadi.

Ndadi said teachers get blamed for the poor performance of learners, whereas it is the education system itself that is "strategically" failing learners to create cheap labour.

"From Grade 1-9, we as teachers are instructed to only fail 3% of a class. This means that we have to add percentages to learners' marks so that they can pass through to the next grade, as only 3% of that class may fail. So if a learner gets 28%, we must add 2% so that he/she can pass. This trend follows through until the child reaches grade 10 and fails," said Ndadi.

He said this is done intentionally for the failure rate to remain high and Namcol profits from pupils who repeat their grades at the institution.

Furthermore, Ndadi criticised the "bush allowance" paid to rural teachers who work in difficult circumstances.

"It's as if Government says, 'take this and shut up'. These teachers are getting paid to work under bad conditions. The bush allowance is like bribery," he said.

"Does giving the teacher a N$1 000 mean that the teacher will improve their teaching? We say, improve the teaching environment, build classrooms and give teachers accommodation."

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