22 Sep 2016 21:00pm
WINDHOEK, 22 SEP (NAMPA) Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa defended herself Thursday after unionists described her as spokesperson of the government threatening teachers.
I was appointed as education minister because I am a trained teacher who knows the inside of a classroom, a trained negotiator and someone who understands the plight of teachers, she said in the National Assembly (NA) during discussions on wage negotiations and improvement of salaries and benefits for teachers.
The Namibia National Teachers' Union (Nantu) feel the minister was supposed to play a liaison role between the union and Government in an attempt to reach consensus on the matter of teachers salaries.
The parties are currently in loggerheads over public school teachers demands for an eight per cent salary increase instead of five per cent offered by Government.
Nantu President Simeon Kavila lashed out at the minister about her recent utterances that teachers are being misled and are unpatriotic.
This, he said, is unbecoming of a minister of education who ought to act professionally and not insulting the intelligence of educators.
Kavila also stated that teachers no longer had confidence in Hanse-Himarwa, as her actions do not guarantee a future working relationship with teachers and the union.
Hanse-Himarwa added that there is no way she can be ignorant or distancing herself with her in-depth understanding of the issues spoken about.
Nobody can tell me a much better story than myself about the circumstances in which teachers are living in. I have travelled to the most remote areas and I am the first advocate for teachers to say they need better housing and a better and conducive environment for learning and teaching, she stated.
Hanse-Himarwa said since the inception of the current government, the plight and wages of teachers have continuously been addressed.
There is no way that an elected government would be irresponsible towards the plight of the very people who elected this government, she said.