Educators must be held accountable: Schlettwein

10 Feb 2018 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 10 FEB (NAMPA) – Government must get value for what it invests in and those who fail to deliver should be held accountable, even if it means the termination of their employment, Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein said.
He made the remarks in an interview with Nampa on Friday, shortly after addressing a Standard Bank initiated economic outlook event.
Using the education sector to elaborate his point, Schlettwein suggested that parents, school boards and school managements should be given more power in holding teachers accountable.
“I think we have to get parents involved. If we want to be radical, school boards must have the power to fire principals and to look into the performance of teachers. They should be empowered to take action if there’s non-performance and absenteeism,” he said.
The minister was responding to a question about how the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture can maximise on its outcomes, given that 85 per cent of the N.dollars 11.97 billion education budget goes to the remuneration of the ministry’s employees and the remaining 15 per cent on operations.
“We must hold responsible those who fail to bring books to the kids… to bring stationary to children… to bring teaching equipment to schools, whether it is an iPad or a pencil, it doesn’t matter. It must reach the child and it must not remain in storerooms and collect dust,” Schlettwein said briefly.
Since the introduction of universal free education in Namibia, State schools have lamented the late disbursement of funds, books and stationery from the education ministry, according to media reports.
In addition, Schlettwein bemoaned the structural challenges that hamper Namibia’s education.
“We believe that the education structure as it is and how it is funded today is more teacher-centred than child-centred. We must go to a child-centred education,” he said.
To achieve an education where the learner is central, school management should be addressed so as to continuously evaluate and scrutinise the performance of teachers, he said.
Another aspect he pointed to was improved spending in the education sector.
“Teachers are paid to teach. It is the core of education. What you must make sure is that 85 per cent has a better outcome,” argued Schlettwein, adding that if a teacher is not at school for the eight hours they are paid for, then Government is not getting the full value they are paying for.