The Ministry of Education’s Permanent Secretary Alfred Ilukena said they are struggling to adopt an electronic filing system from a manual one, which delays the payment of teachers for up to four months.
Nonetheless, they are currently working on the decentralization of services to regions, and this will improve the speed of payments to newly-appointed teachers.
“When someone starts working, you will have to be entered onto a payroll system for you to be able to be paid.
We are currently busy to see how we can speed up that process”, Ilukena stated.
He added that teachers are supposed to get appropriate communication at the time of their appointments if there would be delays with their payments.
“I do not know whether our directors in the regions are communicating this to newly-appointed teachers, as they are supposed to communicate that there would be delays with their payments”, he stated.
The Ministry has been working on the decentralization of integrated management to regions as a way to get closer to its people.
“The Ministry of Education is one of those ministries which are trying hard to get services to the people. With decentralization, we are hoping that the process to pay our newly-appointed teachers will be on time”, said Ilukena.
“I am not a finance person, but I understand that the payments to people is not only done in one night. It is something which is planned in advance, that is why it takes that long,” he stated.
The Teachers’ Union of Namibia (TUN)’s president Mahongora Kavihuha said his union had been raising this and other issues with the Ministry of Education and the involved stakeholders, but nothing had been done so far.
“These people have been living in denial. They do not understand what is going on the ground with our members, and they keep blaming school principals and directors. We are blaming the entire system,” he charged.
Kavihuha added that it is high time that the responsible officials who take time to process the payments of teachers’ dues should be held accountable for not doing their jobs at the same pace like all other government employees.
“They are not taking teachers seriously. If it was their payment, it would not require that long period, but for teachers it is taking three to four months. Why?” he asked.
He added that the union would not give up until all their requests had been attended to concerning matters affecting teachers.
It has been reported that delays in teachers’ payments are sometimes caused by the transfer of payslips to wrong regions. This has led to teachers not receiving their payslips for about two years in the Khomas and Otjozondjupa regions in the past.
It was also reported that the Ministry of Education’s regional officials denied teachers access to their offices for enquiries concerning their payments.
The TUN president stated some two weeks ago that there is an unequal payment of certain categories of employees within the Ministry of Education.
“School inspectors are enjoying additional benefits, namely housing and motor- vehicle allowances, which ordinarily are not allowances payable within their grade”, Kavihuha stressed.
He said there has been discrimination as regards the chief education officers, who, according to him, are in promotional posts and have supervisory roles, but they are nowhere to be seen as regards the benefits’ structure.
“As a responsible union, we will not want to call on principals to stop what they have been assisting the Ministry with. But if the government does not want to appreciate them, we will be left with no option”, the unionist said.
He added that Ministers of Education normally make a statement that “I will address the shortages of teachers’ houses”.
“However, to our disappointment when they leave office, one hardly observes any significant improvements,” said Kavihuha.
Meanwhile, the TUN has proposed that Government should subsidise building materials for teachers who want to build their houses on their own, especially in rural areas. Government should thus come up with directed and deliberate institutions which would be targeting teachers in terms of housing construction and acquisition.