The education ministry insists it was not caught flat-footed by an exodus of teachers in the 2012/13 financial year. The drain, led to a recent request for supplementary budget funding for temporary replacements.
Parliament recently granted the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) P536.4 million in supplementary funding which partly was required for the payment of temporary teachers who were engaged on contracts ranging between 24 and 36 months.
Critics had jumped at the revelation, alleging that the Ministry had hurriedly sent scores of teachers on training in a politically motivated appeasement exercise to garner votes ahead of October’s general election.
However, a Ministry official has dismissed the allegations saying the training is an annual exercise without political connotations.
“The criticism is unfounded and misplaced,” said Ministry spokesperson, Silas Sehularo in a written response to Mmegi enquiries. “The purpose of the training was to upgrade the qualifications of teachers so that they could adequately deliver on their mandate.” According to Sehularo the training for teachers and other employees is planned for every financial year “which is informed by the long term training needs of the Ministry.
“In this case the plan was done in 2011 for
He added: The remunerations and related expenses for these teachers were included in the budget, but because of competing Ministry projects and initiatives to be implemented, the expenditure could not be covered within the budgetary ceiling.”
Sehularo said while more teachers would be sent for further training next year, the numbers would never exceed the 2012/13 figures even in the future as the intention for that year was to clear the backlog of teachers to be trained. “The number sent for further training is dependent upon the availability of funds,” he said when quizzed on the numbers for the next financial year.
Presenting the supplementary budget proposal in Parliament recently, Finance Minister, Kenneth Matambo said the bulk of the P536.4 million request from Education would go towards funding shortfalls in the costs of training.
The funds are also required to implement a four percent salary adjustment awarded to all public servants across the board earlier in the year.