Teachers threaten fresh protests

Teachers threaten fresh protests

MASERU – FIREBRAND teachers’ trade unionist, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, says the government must brace itself for a fresh wave of protests.
Ntsibolane told thepost on Tuesday that the government had not kept its promise to resolve the teachers’ grievances.
He said the Ministry of Education had clearly showed that it “does not want to work out our grievances at heart”.
He said if the ministry fails to fulfill its promises, “teachers will go back on strike anytime from now”.
“People think because we have suspended our strike until October this year we cannot go for a strike before then,” Ntsibolane said.

He said the government’s failure to fulfill its promises will drive them back onto the streets.
He said they do not see the ministry acting in accordance with how both parties had agreed.
“We could only see signs that say nothing is being done as planned and agreed upon,” he said.
Teachers went on strike late last year and early this year complaining that the ministry had failed to honour its earlier promise to promote them on the basis of their qualifications.
They also complained that there were hundreds of teachers whose payments were in arrears and the ministry was turning a blind eye towards their complaints.

They also wanted an eight percent salary adjustment across the board.
The teachers also said the ministry should engage them to review their career and salary structure.
They also complained that there was insufficient distribution of learning materials at schools.
They wanted to be trained on the new curriculum the ministry had ushered in.
The government then formed a sub-committee of ministers to deal with the teachers’ grievances.
Ntsibolane said the government was however dragging its feet after the teachers agreed to suspend their strike until October.

He said teachers who were owed by the government were told to fill some documents that show how many teachers are supposed to be paid.
“But surprisingly teachers were denied those forms by the ministry’s officials,” he said.
He said those officials told the teachers that the forms are supposed to be collected only by the school principals.
Ntsibolane said after the forms have been collected, the ministry officials insisted that the documentation should only be submitted by school principals.
“Thaba-Tseka teachers were told that they did not submit in time therefore their time had expired,” he said.

He also said the other issue is of tax credit (rebate) that was supposed to be out by April 1, 2019 but was only released on April 9.
Ntsibolane said they reached an agreement with the Cabinet subcommittee on April 10 that the tax credit should be taken back for review.
“They agreed to release the correct one the next Friday but they did not deliver,” he said.
He also said on April 19, the government should have made sure to facilitate issuing of Grade 7 textbooks.
“But as we speak the issue is not yet worked out,” he said.

Ntsibolane said they want the nation to know that if they go on strike the ministry would be one to shoulder the blame.
“I have received a report that some schools have not yet been given any books at all and we agreed that the books should be issued in time,” he said.
Ntsibolane said according to their timeline, some of the things were supposed to have been worked out by now.
The Education Principal Secretary Dr Thabiso Lebese said he was surprised that teachers’ associations were still complaining.
“I am not aware that there are other timelines that have not yet been met,” he said.

Nkheli Liphoto


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