‘Stop insulting us by telling us to create our own jobs’

GRIEVANCES … Unemployed teachers during a pro- test in Windhoek yesterday. Photo: Henry van Rooi

A group of unemployed teacher graduates yesterday held a demonstration in Windhoek during which they called on the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture to employ them.

Spokesperson of the unemployed teachers committee Kaundu Jesaya said their grievances have fallen on deaf ears and called for the government to act and deliver jobs.

The committee is demanding that the ministry abolishes job interviews with immediate effect, fully implements a policy on teacher-pupil ratios and facilitate the mass recruitment of teachers across the country. The committee also called on the ministry to build more schools across the country in the 2024/2025 financial year.

The group further said they feel insulted by government officials who demand they create their own jobs.

Jesaya said the government is making this demand while policymakers do not empower them with the capital to create their own employment.

“We, the unemployed teachers, have taken a decision to confront the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture on our plight that has gripped the country for so long, which is high teachers’ unemployment after graduation in education courses.”

“We also call on the president to fulfil his N$200 million pledge for additional teaching posts promised during the state of nation address in March 2023. Can we conclude that this was a mere political statement from the president for political scores or it is another scandal of funds disappearing? Why is the president very comfortable to give empty promises for political gains at the expense of the graduate teachers who are in the streets?”

Gebson Shilemba (25), who has an honour’s degree in education from the International University of Management (IUM), told The Namibian he has thus far attended 10 job interviews, none of which was successful.

“Panellists fail to give us feedback on our performance in the interview. This is not right, it’s corruption,” he said.

Frieda Nampweya said: “We are required to study documents about policies with have nothing to do with our modules and what we studied for. They should change the system on how the teachers are recruited.”

Meanwhile, a similar protest was held at Eenhana yesterday.

The group of more than 50, clad in their graduation gowns marched through the streets of the town to the education ministry’s offices, where they handed over their petition to the region’s director of education, Isak Hamatwi.

Hamatwi acknowledged the petition but said the issues raised must be addressed at national level as they are policy issues.

According to the executive director of education, arts and culture, Sanet Steenkamp, the ministry recognises the seriousness of the plight of unemployed teachers.

She said they have, however, made serious allegations.

“The unemployed teachers are asking the president to make good on the promise of the N$200 million that has been allocated for the 2023/24 financial year, and this money was specifically for the employment of teachers.

“Let me state it that N$200 million has already been spent this financial and academic year across the 14 regions to appoint teachers,” she said.

Steenkamp said there are currently 106 000 public servants in employment, of which 31 000 are teachers.

“The teachers also mentioned that our ministry should be the one to work with the higher institutions of learning, and on that I wish to say our mandate is to educate and train. We are not responsible although we do engage with the higher institutions,” she said.

Steenkamp said if the ministry was to appoint all unemployed teachers, there would be teachers in saturated fields, which the unemployed teachers are aware of.

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