12 September 2018

Namibia: Adult Education Officers Petition Govt

A GROUP of adult education practitioners, promoters and officers from the Erongo region marched to the regional education directorate at Swakopmund last Thursday to hand over a petition to the education ministry.

District education officer for Swakopmund, Paulina Nakafingo, said the division of adult education in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has been going through various labour-related challenges and unsatisfactory working conditions for a long time, which are not being addressed by its leaders.

She added that this has been going on for years, despite various petitions.

Some of the issues in the petition included the claim that promoters in different regions receive different salaries, with some earning N$4 000, while others get N$3 400, and the majority allegedly earn N$2 914.

Some promoters are also apparently provided with benefits, such as housing and transport allowances, while others are not.

Some district education officials claimed their salaries were downgraded from grade 8 to grade 9 in recent years, which was allegedly done unlawfully.

The march and petition handover were done under the auspices of the Teachers' Union of Namibia (TUN). "We would like to place our demands to you because those who were supposed to perform and attend to the functions detailed have failed dismally," the petition addressed to minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa reads.

The petitioners demanded that all education officers be placed in grade 8, without discrimination.

They are also demanding an updated agreement on the use and sharing of educational resources and infrastructure, and the next directive to regional directors that the contracts of promoters be extended to February 2019, as opposed to what they called an "illegal" 10-month contract. "This 10-month contract has robbed the promoters of a lot of benefits, caused uncertainty, and is a recipe for slavery," stated the petition, adding that the discussion of three-year contracts for promoters should start immediately.

The petitioners demanded that "all unlawful deductions" from education officers be stopped immediately, and that all money be paid back within 30 days.

The petition was received by Erongo education director John Awaseb, who informed the petitioners that it would be forwarded to the minister for a response.

Similar protests were held across the country last week.

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