Keetmanshoop parents disappointed at striking teachers

13 Oct 2016 17:30pm
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 13 OCT (NAMPA) - Some parents and learners in Keetmanshoop have expressed their disdain at the teachers’ strike that started on Thursday countrywide.
Less than 50 teachers started marching here early Thursday morning and dispersed at the designated picketing point around 09h00, after representatives of the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) explained the striking rules that will apply from Monday.
A parent told Nampa that some teachers were seen buying alcohol at liquor stores afterwards.
“Did they strike to drink? Our children see them at these places while they are supposed to be an example,” the unnamed parent said.
Another upset parent, Rosaline Boois, 43, said she was shocked that teachers resolved to strike at a time when learners write examinations.
“I did not expect that they would actually strike. They just think of money. I am unemployed and send my children to school to have a better life, but now they risk the future of our children,” Boois said.
Her 16-year-old daughter Celine Boois, who is in Grade 10, said she was “not okay” about being on the street instead of in class writing examinations.
“How can they strike now, what will happen to us?” the learner asked.
Pieter Frederick, a father of a learner also in Grade 10, said he is very worried about the implications of the strike.
“I understand why they strike. Life is expensive and some of them cannot even afford their own homes, but nonetheless, we as parents are worried about our children.”
Many children in uniform were seen wandering the streets of Keetmanshoop or sitting in groups around shops.
A group of young boys from St Matthias Primary School said they were bored.
“We don’t have anything to do, so we are just walking around,” said 13-year-old Willierco Frederick.
A teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, told Nampa that the strike was not necessarily about money.
“The strike is about inequality. Politicians live large while we suffer. Teaching is a very difficult and important job, and they sit around in their air-conditioned offices. If the government was so broke, why did they give themselves raises and allowances? They should practice what they preach,” the high school teacher said.
Approached by this news agency on Thursday, chairman of the Nantu regional executive, Moses Afrikaner reiterated that the strike will continue until teachers’ demand for an eight per cent salary increase is met.
Government offered five per cent, citing financial constraints.