Teachers of various pilot project subjects in secondary schools such as French, music, physical education and moral education face a bleak future with no progression path and one subject being phased out completely.
Already BOSETU is fighting in court to have moral education reinstated in senior secondary schools to save the teachers jobs, since the subject was discontinued without consultation with the teachers union. In fact it is not clear who, in government or the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD), sanctioned the discontinuation of the subject in senior secondary schools.
Interestingly though, the subject continues to be offered at junior secondary school level as a core subject, meaning it is mandatory to all junior secondary school pupils.
BOSETU Secretary General Tobokani Rari noted that the subject was discontinued in 2013 in all senior schools. But the last batch of teachers who ceased to teach was in 2014 when the last batch of students were writing exams after the discontinuation of the teaching of the subject.
Roughly about 25 teachers were affected, the exact number can be confirmed from the teachers themselves.
“Some of them have been assigned to subjects such as guidance and counselling, religious education and social studies which are related to moral education but which they were not necessarily trained for. This has left a lot of them disgruntled. Some of them have ended up resigning due to such disgruntlement,” Rari further says.
According to sources that The Monitor spoke to, it would seem the decision to shut down moral education classes in senior secondary schools was taken after the examinations body communicated that it would no longer assess and examine the subject at senior secondary school level. “We stumbled upon communication from the examination body and we shared that communication among ourselves as teachers of moral education; no one has ever communicated with us, it is a complex
Observers say it is a situation similar to the current one unfolding at Tonota College of Education that has frozen intakes for two years now, resulting in lecturers there raking monthly salaries for just loitering.
In another issue, BOSETU is not happy with the progression of teachers in subjects that are piloted by MoESD. “Unlike in other subjects there are no senior teachers, resulting in the teachers of the subjects being literally stuck in the same positions. They could neither progress to heads of department, as the position of Senior 1 is the gateway to the post of HoD”, notes Rari.
According to Rari some of these teachers continue to perform senior teachers’ roles without being recognised for them and without remuneration, something he says is straightforward exploitation that has to be stopped and those teachers given their dues.
For physical education teachers, their story started rather rosy with the ministry officials, influenced by sports authorities, eager to turn certain secondary schools into sports academies or schools of excellence in sporting activities. According to the concept, promising raw talent would be identified and lumped into these schools of excellence in a bid to develop top sporting and talent in areas like football, athletics, to name a few.
A similar concept was developed for music, with five secondary schools identified as centres of excellence two years ago. Before long however, those teachers found themselves on transfers, deployed to various junior secondary schools, resulting in disgruntlement among the scores of music teachers who thought they had found a new career path in the teaching cadre.