OKAHANDJA: Teachers at Okahandja on Wednesday added their voices to the calls of their counterparts in the rest of the country, who are demanding that salary negotiations which started last year be concluded.
About 50 teachers from nine schools at Okahandja in the Otjozundjupa Region staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the JG van der Wath Senior Secondary School.
The group’s spokesperson Gottfried Muhembo told Nampa they are pushing forward in solidarity with the rest of the teachers and will not turn back until their demands for better salaries and benefits are met.
Muhembo, speaking while the rest of the teachers chanted slogans in the background, said they will not deviate from their strike. He stated that demands by Minister of Information and Communication Technology Joel Kaapanda that teachers should return to their classes “border on intimidation”, and added that they will stick to their guns and will not return to their classes until their demands are met.
Kaapanda on Tuesday ordered striking teachers to return to their classrooms without delay to avoid Government taking action against them.
The minister, who was speaking on behalf of the Namibian Government at a media conference in the capital, said Government “in no uncertain terms condemns the irresponsible and illegal strike actions by some teachers”, and urged the teachers to have the future of Namibian learners at heart.
Responding to a question by this news agency on the effect the strike has on learners preparing for their end-of-year examinations, Muhembo said teachers are aware of the strike’s effect, but said as long as Government does not pay attention to their demands, they will stay put.
“We do not see the need to return to our classes until then,” he stated.
Nampa also spoke to a few learners at the town to get their take on the teachers’ actions.
Linus Johannes, a Grade 11 learner from Okahandja Secondary School said learners are losing valuable time meant for preparation for the examinations. “We are worried as the examinations are to start soon,” he said.
Simon Uirab, a Grade 9 learner also from Okahandja Secondary School felt that Government should “listen to the teachers” so they can return to their classes and start with preparations for the examinations.