Victory for teachers

Victory for teachers

MASERU – TEACHERS and the government have struck a deal to avert a strike that had been planned to start today.
The agreement, a three-page document with 11 decisions, was signed on Tuesday between the Ministry of Education’s Principal Secretary for Basic Education, Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT), Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU) and the Lesotho Principals Association (LESPA).
Addressing a press conference yesterday, LAT’s Thato Lethobane said teachers are suspending the strike after two days of negotiations with the Ministry of Education.

Lethobane said they agreed with the ministry to review the teacher career and salary structure before 2019, that process will be led by the Ministry of Public Service.
“Representation should be as inclusive as possible, that is to include subject teachers, Heads of Departments, deputy principals and principals,” he said.

He said the parties agreed that the ministry should formally invite LESPA as an association to the career and salary structure meetings starting immediately.

“The next task team meeting should take place on the 24th September 2018,” he said, adding that a roadmap by the teacher career and salary structure task team shows that the review exercise should be completed by January 2019.
“The ministry undertakes to review representation of teacher’s formations in the task team between September and October,” he said.
On the issue of performance contracts for principals, Lethobane said principals will now be engaged on permanent and pensionable terms before January 2018.

“The ministries of education and finance will work out how to operationalise the decision of the cabinet in relation to gratuities of principals to reflect their engagement through special assignment before October 2018,” he said.
He said payment of arrears for hardship allowance and substitute teachers should be prioritised.
“The other arrears will be paid from funds that have been requested from Finance before December 2018. Finance (ministry) is expected to respond in October 2018 about availability of funds to Education.”

On pensions, he said the ministry will request the Ministry of Finance to consider a proposal to amend laws to accommodate teacher unions.
Lethobane said 24 teachers appointed by TSC should be placed in schools experiencing acute staff shortage from October to December 2018.
“The ministry will develop guidelines for teacher recruitment using schedule 17 from October to December 2018,” Lethobane added.
On the implementation of the new curriculum, Lethobane said training of teachers should be conducted by competent resource person from NUL and LCE.

“We are expecting two training sessions before 2019,” he said.
He also said there is need for equitable distribution of teachers to tackle the problem of high pupil-teacher ratio in a number of schools starting from the 2019/20 financial year.

“Subject teaching from Grade 4 can also go a long way in addressing high pupil-teacher ratio in schools from 2019/20,” he added.
He said general shortage of books should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

(Rapapa’s comment coming)

He said the parties agreed that the ministry should formally invite LESPA as an association to the career and salary structure meetings starting immediately.

“The next task team meeting should take place on the 24th September 2018,” he said, adding that a roadmap by the teacher career and salary structure task team shows that the review exercise should be completed by January 2019.
“The ministry undertakes to review representation of teacher’s formations in the task team between September and October,” he said.
On the issue of performance contracts for principals, Lethobane said principals will now be engaged on permanent and pensionable terms before January 2018.

“The ministries of education and finance will work out how to operationalise the decision of the cabinet in relation to gratuities of principals to reflect their engagement through special assignment before October 2018,” he said.
He said payment of arrears for hardship allowance and substitute teachers should be prioritised.
“The other arrears will be paid from funds that have been requested from Finance before December 2018. Finance (ministry) is expected to respond in October 2018 about availability of funds to Education.”

On pensions, he said the ministry will request the Ministry of Finance to consider a proposal to amend laws to accommodate teacher unions.
Lethobane said 24 teachers appointed by TSC should be placed in schools experiencing acute staff shortage from October to December 2018.
“The ministry will develop guidelines for teacher recruitment using schedule 17 from October to December 2018,” Lethobane added.
On the implementation of the new curriculum, Lethobane said training of teachers should be conducted by competent resource person from NUL and LCE.

“We are expecting two training sessions before 2019,” he said.
He also said there is need for equitable distribution of teachers to tackle the problem of high pupil-teacher ratio in a number of schools starting from the 2019/20 financial year.

“Subject teaching from Grade 4 can also go a long way in addressing high pupil-teacher ratio in schools from 2019/20,” he added.
He said general shortage of books should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Minister Ntoi Rapapa’s office confirmed that it signed agreement with teachers.

Nkheli Liphoto

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