01 Oct 2016 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 01 OCT (NAMPA) The government has issued a statement saying teaching and the writing of national examinations will go ahead as scheduled when teachers in public schools go on strike from 13 October 2016.
A media statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister on Saturday said Government is committed to ensuring that the national examinations take place, despite teachers striking.
The government and Namibian National Teachers Union (Nantu) failed to reach an agreement for teachers salaries to be increased by eight per cent and not five per cent as offered by the State.
Negotiations on the strike rules this past week also failed and a conciliator had to determine the strike rules.
Government fully respects the rights of its staff members to participate in lawful industrial action, as long as such does not infringe upon the fundamental rights of learners to education and to examinations in a peaceful environment, Saturdays statement said.
Government however expressed concern that the notice period of seven working days before the strike commences is not sufficient to make arrangements for volunteers to attend to the work of the striking teachers.
The statement said teachers are deployed all over the country and the government has to ensure that 707 878 learners continue learning and writing their examinations in a conducive environment, describing it as a huge logistics endeavour.
Concern has also been expressed about the proximity of striking teachers to schools. The conciliator in the strike rules issued said the strike may only take place within 500 metres from schools. The statement said this may interfere with teaching and the writing of examinations.
Nantu Secretary-General Basilius Haingura said at a media briefing on Friday that during the seven days, Nantu will decide on where the strike will take place.
Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa made it clear early this month that employees who opt to strike will lose their income during the strike and this will directly affect other fringe benefits, as stated in the Labour Act No. 11 of 2007, Sector 76 (1).