The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC) has hired 3 667 relief teachers in the last two years as the ministry is grappling with an acute teacher shortage for a number of years now.
The MoEAC is forced to make use of the services temporary teachers on a contractual basis for a specified period of time based on needs of schools.
The spokesperson of the MoEAC, Johanna Absalom explained that the ministry has plans to employ temporary teachers permanently in the future whenever teaching position are vacant provided they apply to study further.
“The ministry welcomes and encourages prospective teachers who meet the requirements to apply for a teaching post once vacant. It is a requirement within public service that all potential employees go through the normal application process,” Absalom said.
She added that all post are filled through open competition, and that vacant positions are advertised and filled through interviews.
As part of efforts to improve the quality of education outcomes by improving teacher competence and qualification, and in order to alleviate the situation of close to 4 208 under and unqualified teachers, the MoEAC has collaborated with the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation (MoHETI) to introduce a diploma programme for distance learning for relief teachers, The Villager understands.
However, the In-Service Teacher Education (ISET) diploma has also been introduced for under- and unqualified teachers this year.
The development and execution of this program has been outsourced by the University of Namibia (UNAM) and offered at all campuses.
The MoEAC is still looking into attracting more teachers to take up positions permanently.
“The ministry would like to attract competent, qualified and skilled teachers. But above all, we would like to attract teachers who are passionate about the teaching profession and love children, “Absalom said.
She added that the ministry wants to attract and retain teachers who will serve the country and specifically, the learners with a strong work ethic, who choose teaching as a profession and not as a second option.
The Permanent Secretary of MoEAC, Sanet Steenkamp explained that one of the major challenges the ministry face regarding temporary teachers is that they are qualified in other professions and leave as soon as they find employment in the fields they studied in causing a huge turn-over in the number of temporary staff teachers leaving the education ministry with only few teachers, leading to advertising position again to be filled.
“Some of the teachers have qualifications such as degrees and diplomas in other fields. What also happens is that this temporary teachers don’t have benefits like qualified teachers do such as hardship allowances and once they get offered a position in the fields they studied in, they leave,” Steenkamp said.
She added the ministry retains temporary teachers provided they enroll for junior primary diploma courses.
Steenkamp emphasized that the commitment and performance of these temporary teachers should not be questioned and doubted under no circumstances.
About 90 percent of temporary teachers are currently attending junior primary diploma courses The Villager learned.