EDITORIAL: Making teachers the sacrificial lambs

16 June 2021 | Opinion

Yesterday the National Assembly slammed its doors closed after it reported nine cases of Covid-19, including Speaker Peter Katjavivi.

The precaution taken is correct. But it came across as if decision-makers only act on certain issues when they are directly affected.

For weeks, school teachers have been dying at an unprecedented rate. Those who are still lucky to have ducked the virus and its fatal consequences have been begging government for intervention, to suspend classes for a limited period because school grounds have become a hive of death and bereavement.

The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) and the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) held meetings with the education ministry last week to further agitate about the safety of teachers and learners, but face-to-face classes continued - despite the impassionate pleas.

But as soon as Parliament reported nine cases, with no death announced in the press statement issued yesterday, a swift decision was taken.

Do lives of politicians carry more weight than of those of schoolteachers, or is this another case of classism and lack of empathy for fellow servants?

Because of the arrogant attitude by leaders, children, though admittedly less vulnerable, were allowed to continue attending classes and possibly pick up the virus that they then dump home to kill their ageing guardians.

At the time of writing this, we did not know what measures President Hage Geingob would announce last night, but we hope this matter is addressed.