‘Promoted’ teachers, headmasters ordered back to the classroom

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A recent directive by the Public Service Commission (PSC) for all senior Education officials who had assumed temporary administrative duties to revert back to their original work stations, has reportedly triggered a serious staffing crisis at the country’s district and provincial offices.

Between 2006 and 2009, government reassigned a total of 459 senior teachers and headmasters to man its district and provincial offices as a stop-gap measure following a massive brain drain that saw qualified personnel leave the country in droves.

But, in a letter dated July 28, the PSC advised Secretary for Education Stephen Mahere to reverse the arrangement.

Part of the letter titled: “Re-deployment of teachers performing administration duties at head and provincial offices to their respective stations: total 459”, the PSC stated it wanted to clean up its Salary Services Bureau payroll.

“It has been noted that there are several teachers, deputy heads and heads that are not performing their core duties and are now stationed either at head offices, provincial or district offices performing various administrative duties. The members are still using the teachers’ codes,” reads the PSC letter.

“Please be advised that these members should return to their work stations and resume their normal duties by not later than September 1, 2011, failure of which the PSC will take appropriate disciplinary action against the ministry’s human resources personnel as well as considering the removal of the said teachers from the payroll.”

But, Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart yesterday said he was not aware of the letter.
“I am not aware of the letter. It was not copied to me and it would be good for you to contact the permanent secretary, Mahere,” said Coltart.

Mahere was not available for comment on Wednesday while a human resources official in the ministry declined to comment saying she was not allowed to comment over the phone.

“Address your questions directly to the ministry. I am not allowed to respond over the telephone,” she said.

Sources from district education offices revealed that following the PSC directive, the ministry reacted and moved the teachers, leaving most district and provincial offices with a skeletal staff complement.