Prolonged sick leave concerns education ministry

13 Mar 2018 14:50pm
RUNDU, 13 MAR (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has noticed cases of teachers being on prolonged sick leave from as far back as 2016, some without the proper documentation.
This was found during the ministry’s payroll verification exercise conducted in all 14 regions of the country after 19 teachers from schools in the Zambezi Region were arrested over a N.dollars 10 million salary scam involving dubious payments of allowances and bonuses.
The ministry’s public relations officer, Absalom Absalom told Nampa on Tuesday that they also recently uncovered a scam in Swakopmund where teachers used fake doctor’s letters to go on sick leave.
“When teachers go on prolonged sick leave, the ministry has to employ temporary teachers to fill that position and this has cost implications for the ministry,” Absalom said.
Another popular scam is when staff go on missions and when they return, fail to report that they are back, in order to be paid as if they are still on a mission, it was found.
“Such tendencies are uncalled for and they negatively impact on the teaching and learning process. Ultimately, the biggest losers in this situation are the learners,” the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said recently.
She said this in a statement read on her behalf during regional meetings in the Kavango East and West regions with directors, principals and inspectors of education.
The meeting was aimed at objectively analysing shortcomings and emerging needs to draw up a region-specific action plan to address inefficiencies in the education system.
Highlighting some of the administrative shortcomings discovered during the verification process, Hanse-Himarwa said they found a reluctance to act from all role-players, from principals to inspectors and staff in the human resources division, when it comes to staff members who are on prolonged sick leave.
“In some instances, these cases are reported through available channels for action, but then no action is forthcoming. In other instances, these cases are never reported by the principal or school management,” she said.
The minister said the handling and recording of all types of leave require better control.
Hanse-Himarwa said the financial management division, with the assistance of the office of the director, should implement paysheet control as a matter of urgency.
“The office of the director must compel all principals to return all paysheets for the purpose of paysheet control to be implemented and the director must be provided with a monthly paysheet control report. In that way, we will be able to eliminate dubious salary payments in the ministry,” the minister said.