The chairperson of the Walvis Bay Preschool and Kindergarten Association, Samson Hamukoto, has urged the parents of children in preschools to honour the agreements they entered into with preschool and day-care centres.
Hamukoto says preschools and day-care centre teachers have been left with no or only a small percentage of their salaries in December, as parents either switch off their phones or ignore calls in December.
“All parents are given contracts when they enrol their children. We are not government centres, and teachers must get their salaries every month.
“The contracts are thoroughly explained to parents before they sign them. They agree and sign contracts, but they change their minds in December.
“Some complain that there is no school in December, yet they do not complain when teachers take care of their children during the year, even past the time they have to pick up their children.
“Some teachers even take care of the children during weekends or when they are sick,” he says.
Hamukoto says parents also have the habit of only returning their children to schools in February to avoid January’s payment, as schools start midmonth.
The association urges all preschools to join it and unite in reporting parents who withdraw their children from centres.
“We have a WhatsApp group where we discuss many issues concerning preschools. Those who do not know about the group can visit the Learn in Peace centre at Kuisebmond to complete membership forms.
“We are planning to properly register the group, but need to know the exact number of preschools that want to join. We are planning to have meetings with parents at Walvis Bay, during which we will explain rules and contracts.
“We need to work together for the benefit of the children and the centres,” Hamukoto says.
He says the amounts owed to the centres are shocking.
Some teachers and centre owners say they also have bills to pay, especially in December and January.
“I felt bad in December. I saw parents on social media enjoying themselves, while I was starving. I even struggled to send my child off to school on Monday, because she needed a school uniform and stationery.
“Yet I am the one making sacrifices for other people’s children during the year,” teacher Lugambo Simon says.
Teacher Paul Johannes says: “We also have a life to live. I have accounts to pay. My children also wanted to travel like other children.
“It is sad to walk into the shops and see parents with big baskets, while I have to count my dollars trying to buy bread.”
The owner of the Learn in Peace centre at Kuisebmond, Jucresia Hoëses, says it is unfair for parents to not pay their fees, as centres also have operational expenses.
“It happens every year, despite us begging parents to honour their responsibilities. They need to understand that some people rent these premises.
“Teachers also have families they need to take care of. How do you just ignore the contract and sit comfortably, knowing that others are suffering?” she asks.
Teachers also complain that parents distinguish between centres in town and those at Kuisebmond and Narraville, noting that the centres in town are not overlooked for payment as much.
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