Teachers to Be Bonded to Public Service

Teachers who study with funding from the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) will by law be “bonded” or contracted to serve in a post selected by government for the same number of years that they were financially supported in their studies. Further, the Ministry of Education is working on a law to regulate the education profession with he purpose of enhancing the status of teachers and other educationists.

A certain distortion has apparently crept into the education system in that educators who are trained for a particular phase, subject or skill are often not deployed to teach that specialisation.

Justin Ellis, a consultant who facilitated the draft policy, explained that there is no great deal that is new in the policy, saying the educator policy in large measure draws on policies already in place but which could not be fully implemented in the past.

“One result is, for instance, that very few of those trained for junior primary education are actually to be found teaching at that level, perhaps partly explaining why performance at this level of education is currently at such a low ebb. Educators who are not teaching at that level, or in the subject, for which they were trained, are of course not likely to perform optimally, at least for a number of years,” Ellis remarked yesterday at a stakeholder consultative workshop in Windhoek. The education ministry organised the workshop to discuss the draft policy.

Ellis said that well qualified teachers are more likely to be found in urban rather than rural areas, and therefore government may therefore be paying incentives such as ‘bush allowances’ to unqualified teachers, while the intention of such allowances is to have qualified educators in rural or disaantaged areas.

Hence in future once the policy is adopted, teachers who are beneficiaries of scholarships from the NSFAF would be ‘bonded’ or contracted to serve in a post selected by government for the same number of years that they had support to study.

Subject to prior discussion and the approval, graduates will be posted to according to the indentified needs of learners.

“The environment of such postings will be given due consideration, but must be balanced against national priorities. The Ministry of Education will further require that all educators are deployed according to their subject and phase level specialisation, particularly at junior primary level. Managers at regional education offices and schools will be required to report on such deployment and only in the most exceptional circumstances will deviation from this rule be allowed,” he noted.

Moreover, with effect from 2016, all applicants for management positions in education institutions including head of departments and principals will be required to have a recognised qualification in education management,

Those already in such positions, who do not have such qualification will be allowed until the end of 2018 to obtain it. “It cannot be assumed that a good educator will make a good manager. Namibia has benefited from a number of innovative projects to train managers for educational institutions, especially school principals. However, none of these schemes has been made systematic to ensure that all managers are properly prepared for their very demanding roles,” Ellis said.

“This policy has a vision. It is largely concerned with the professionalisation of the occupation of learning as a means of improving the quality of education.

“We respect certain professions because they respect themselves and they do not allow people to bring them into disrepute.

“We as educators must also organise and regulate ourselves and gain respect,” he said.

Source : New Era