Reprieve for unqualified teachers

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Limpho Sello

THE Ministry of Education and Training has given teachers without qualifications until December 2019 to acquire the relevant teaching qualifications.

The ministry also said it would continue paying the salaries of such teachers in the meantime.

The latest developments were contained in a circular recently issued by the ministry’s Principal Secretary, Mapaseka Kolotsane.

The circular no 11 of 2017 is titled: ‘Teachers’ normalisation following acquisition of teaching qualifications’.

“Please be advised that following the publication of the Teaching Service (Amendment) Regulations of 2016 of the Teaching Services Regulations 2002 from June 2016, qualified teachers will no longer be promoted based on qualification alone but the normal competitive recruitment process shall be followed for purposes of promotions only when there is a vacancy.

“However, salaries of serving unqualified teachers who attained teaching qualifications will continue to be normalised,” part of the circular reads.

“Please note that in the 2009 Salary and Career Structure, the Ministry had granted unqualified teachers five years to acquire teaching qualification or to exit from the Teaching service in March 2014 if devoid of teaching qualifications.

“However, on the said date the unqualified teachers who failed to obtain teaching qualifications were not released from the Teaching Service as intended. In the light of the above, kindly take notice that the period to acquire teaching qualification has been extended for another five years from March 2014 to December 2019.”

The circular further states that while all unqualified teachers will be compelled to exit the teaching service after the December 2019 deadline, those already pursuing teaching qualifications by that date “shall be exempted until they have acquired them within the minimum learning years of study for the qualification”.

Meanwhile, Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) Chairperson for the Maseru Branch, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, told the Lesotho Times that although they were not necessarily against the normalisation of unqualified teachers, there were grave issues of concern over the implementation of the exercise including the likelihood of unfair labour practices.

“The question is whether the ministry has considered the challenge that is going to be caused by the normalisation because as much as those teachers will be granted what is due to them, those teachers who have furthered their studies are being left outside and the ministry of education is saying nothing about them.

“To us this means it was a total waste of time for teachers who furthered their studies if they will not be paid for the new qualifications.

“It has been stated that they will be promoted when there is a vacancy and we all know that there are only three vacancies in schools, namely, the principal position, deputy principal and the head of departments which are very limited,” Mr Ntsibolane said.

He called for the re-introduction of ranks that were used in the past in the promotion of teachers, saying this would show teachers who furthered their studies “that their hard work of study was not for nothing”.

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