10 Sep 2014 17:50pm
OPUWO, 10 SEP (NAMPA) - Principals and teachers of different public schools in the Kunene Region boycotted the English language proficiency (ELP) test, which was scheduled for Wednesday and Friday last week.
The test is a national initiative of the Ministry of Education (MeD), and school principals and teachers across the country at public and private schools were required to participate.
The Kunene Region has about 790 teachers, of whom approximately 90 are unqualified teachers with only Grade 12 qualifications.
It is alleged that the Kunene principals and teachers who did not sit for the test did so on instructions from the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu).
Nantus regional chairperson of the, Laurence Kamati circulated a letter dated 02 September 2014 to all the teachers in Kunene Region not to write the test.
He told Nampa on enquiry Wednesday last week that the government and/or MoE did not keep its promise to cover the costs of teachers who have to travel to attend English classes and to reach the test venues.
The Nantu congress held in August this year resolved that the ELP test was not needed, and that should be substituted with information and communication technology (ICT) courses and the use of the Internet, said Kamati.
Approached for comment, Ingrid Veii, the senior education officer for English as a second language in the regional education office, confirmed the teachers boycott.
She said only two teachers in the Kunene Region were exempted from writing the test.
Veii said that at regional level, there are no punitive actions which would be taken against teachers or principals who did not write the test, but her office is awaiting directives from head office in the capital.
She said some principals in the Kavango West and Kavango East also did not turn up for the ELP test.
Veii could not provide the total number of teachers and principals who wrote the test and those who did not write, because the test was written at four different venues in the region, and she was responsible for the Outjo test only.
She, however, expressed delight that almost all teachers and principals of eight schools in and around Outjo took the test last week, despite the directive from Nantu.
Out of eight schools, only two principals did not take the test while the majority of teachers sat for the test, said Veii.