156 teachers not paid since January

156 teachers not paid since January

Rose Moremoholo


A TOTAL of 156 new teachers have not been paid since schools opened in January.

Education Minister Mahali Phamotse last Friday apologised to the teachers and pleaded with them “to be patient as the problem is being attended to”.

Phamotse blamed a new system that is used to pay civil servants which the government introduced in December last year.

She said the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) “was chosen as a pilot project in the Ministry of Education and the system has not been able to accept data of new teachers and this has made salary payments difficult”.

“This means that there will not be any vacancies to be filled in this ministry until space can be created to accommodate newly employed teachers,” Phamotse said.

She said the ministry is working on creating space within the HRIS system to regulate the number of teachers in each school.

Phamotse said unqualified teachers will be replaced with qualified ones “so that there can be space created for the system to accommodate teachers”.

“Over and above all, the ministry will establish lists that will monitor the hiring and placement of teachers for each and every school,” she said.

“This will stop schools from having too many teachers in one vacancy and this will help schools to replace resigning teachers with teachers with the same qualifications,” she said.

“This will also help us with well-regulated salaries for teachers, meaning our budget will be precise on the number of teachers to be paid.”

“We assure you that the problem is already being attended to and very soon you will receive your salaries,” she said.

However, teachers’ trade unions say the problem goes beyond delays in paying new teachers.

Paul Sematlane, the executive secretary for the Progressive Association of Lesotho Teachers (PALT), said between March and April he met Phamotse to discuss the ministry’s failure to pay teachers according to their qualifications.

Sematlane said contrary to the 2009 provision that teachers will be paid according to their educational qualifications irrespective of which grade they are teaching, the ministry had failed to implement the directive.

“We conducted a study and found that many teachers, whether newly graduated or those who improved their qualifications, are not being paid accordingly,” Sematlane said.

He said the teachers’ career structure that was reviewed in 2009 does not include qualifications obtained from tertiary institutions outside the country.

“There are teachers who took study leave and went outside the country to improve their qualifications and when they come back the ministry does not pay them according to their newly acquired educational qualifications,” he said.

“This is what we discussed at length with the minister and we are expecting the teachers’ career structure to be reviewed to include foreign obtained qualifications,” he said.

Sematlane said the minister promised to urgently address the query.

“The minister promised to hire a consultant who will work with us,” he said.

“She said there was a backlog of pending payments.”

Berlina Mokoaleli, an official with the Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU), blamed the teachers themselves for not following procedures when they took study leave.

Mokoaleli said it takes time for the Teaching Service Department to trace information about how a teacher took study leave or how he resigned and got reemployed after acquiring new qualifications.

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