Review the deployment of teachers

Review the deployment of teachers

I wish to first make a disclaimer on this piece because I may be a little bit biased. This is because I hold a degree in education and some of the issues may have affected me personally or may have personally affected my friends and colleagues. However, I will try my level best to play the ball not the man. Now that my personal issues have been addressed, I would like to get to the bone of contention, which is who has the legitimate right to hire and fire teachers.

The Education Act of 2010 Section 25(c) under the heading Responsibilities of the school board, stipulates that a school board shall in a public school, recommend to the appointing authority the appointment, promotion, demotion or transfer of a teacher. According to the Education Act 2010, the ‘appointing authority’ in relation to a teacher of a public school is the Commission, in the case of a teacher in an independent school it is a school board.

The commission means the Teaching Service Commission as established under Section 144 of the Constitution and a ‘public school’ means a state-funded school wholly managed in terms of government regulations and manned by teachers who are in the Teaching Service.
I am not a lawyer and do not know much about laws and their interpretations. Also the word recommendation has always troubled us as Basotho. As such for me there is need for the MOET to review this section of the law and ensure that even we laymen understand whose duty it is to appoint teachers.

The reason for my recommendation in this case is because one of the main complaints of the teachers unions is that the Ministry of Education and Training has stripped the school boards of their responsibility to hire teachers and has wrongly given the TSC the mandate to deploy teachers.
I believe the appropriate body that should complain with regard to the stripping of the powers of the school boards should be the school boards themselves or the educational secretaries. I fail to understand the reason behind the interest of employed teachers and principals in the manner in which teachers are appointed.

What do employed teachers and principals gain or lose when the school boards, as opposed to the TSC, are hiring teachers?
If the complaints came from the school boards, I would not have any issue with that because they are directly affected. However, the Act stipulates that they recommend. The other party that could have legitimate claim in my opinion is the education secretaries as they represent the interests of the school proprietors.
Based on the arguments above, I would like to make a few suggestions to the effect of the amendment of section 25(c). It is imperative that the Ministry of Education acts in the best interests of the teachers when the amendment is made.

This is because, as it stands now, there is tangible evidence that the hiring of teachers by school boards has been dogged by corruption and nepotism.
To prove this claim, I dare the reader could just go to any church-owned school, except schools owned by the Anglican Church, and find if they will ever find a principal who is not a member of the church that is the proprietor of that school.

What is surprising is that the teachers’ unions find nothing wrong with this arrangement and I really wonder why that is the case.
Moreover, in some schools you find a staff of family members, that is, there is a mother and son or a husband and wife teaching at the same school.

This kind of deployment points to nepotism and that if a new graduate teacher is not related to anyone in that school, their chances of getting employment are next to zero.
Additionally, the interview short-list in some cases is made in such a way that the school board gives advantage to their preferred candidate.
This hazy manner of preparing the shortlist happens at both government and church-owned schools. In this case, the school boards ensure that they call for interviews only candidates that do not jeopardise the chances of their candidate to get the job.

For example if their preferred candidate holds a degree, has a pass of 2:1 obtained in 2016, they call to the interview candidates that have a degree, but have obtained a pass of 2:2 or less obtained after 2016. It is thus important that the Ministry of Education really looks deeply into these issues so that the more than 3 000 jobless teachers are given a fair chance to get jobs. It is very sad that there are so many unemployed teachers in a country whose education is so fragile.

By: Kelello Rakolobe

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