TUN urges teachers not to sign performance agreements

WINDHOEK: The Teacher’s Union of Namibia (TUN) has advised its members against signing a performance agreement until the demands of the trade unions are addressed.

TUN’s Secretary General, Mahongora Kavihuha, issued the call on Monday in response to a statement by the education ministry regarding the necessity of signing performance agreements with underperforming teachers.

Minister of Education, Arts, and Culture, Anna Nghipondoka, directed regional education and school authorities last week to engage with teachers and sign performance agreements.

‘I hereby instruct that school principals, education officers, and inspectors of education should analyse the results thoroughly and identify schools, subjects, and teachers teaching subjects that are poorly performed in and have performance dialogues, followed by signed agreements with clearly stipulated targets to be met,’ Nghipondoka stated while announcing the national examination results.

However, Kavihuha expressed that the trade union discourages teacher
s from signing performance agreements until the specified conditions are met.

‘On the whole, we have no problem with the signing of a performance agreement, unless and until the demands that the trade unions have made as a prerequisite for their signing are met. As it is, we smell a rat here. The minister is trying to smuggle through the back door, something that the unions oppose and of which there are clear demands, which the minister ought to be aware of. We reiterate our position and call our members to refrain from signing any agreement brought in the guise of improving results,’ he said during a media briefing.

Kavihuha highlighted that, among other demands, the trade unions have called for addressing the learner-teacher ratio, constructing more classrooms, and ensuring the availability of adequate teaching materials.

In the meantime, Kavihuha commended Nghipondoka for urging education officers to concentrate on providing in-service training to struggling teachers.

‘Education officers are people who
assist teachers when they are facing specific challenges with various topics or subjects and offer them in-service training. But we have raised with the ministry that when these people are recruited in regional offices, they are given different responsibilities that are not in-line with their job descriptions. They are being sent to schools to settle complaints. So, they are left with little time to assist teachers to ensure the syllabus is fully covered,’ he explained.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency