Hunt for ghost teachers catches malingerers

Some teachers have been on 'sick leave' for years, the education ministry's payroll verification exercise has found.

14 March 2018 | Education

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$10 million salary scam involving dubious payments of allowances and bonuses.

The ministry's spokesperson 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,” education minister 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 pay sheet control as a matter of urgency.

“The office of the director must compel all principals to return all pay sheets for the purpose of pay sheet control to be implemented and the director must be provided with a monthly pay sheet control report. In that way, we will be able to eliminate dubious salary payments in the ministry,” the minister said.



NAMPA

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