Govt pro­pos­als worry prin­ci­pals

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

SCHOOL prin­ci­pals from dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try have ex­pressed con­cern over a raft of pro­pos­als by the Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing which will deny them first pref­er­ence in the re­newal of em­ploy­ment con­tracts and make them li­able for dam­age to prop­erty among other things.

Last Thurs­day, the prin­ci­pals were sup­posed to meet the Min­is­ter Mr Mot­la­len­toa Let­sosa in Maseru to dis­cuss a new con­tract doc­u­ment among other is­sues but the meet­ing was post­poned in­def­i­nitely.

The prin­ci­pals who had al­ready gath­ered at the Ex­am­i­na­tion Coun­cil of Le­sotho Hall in Khu­bet­soana then held their own meet­ing to dis­cuss their griev­ances.

This was af­ter they had seen leaked copies of what was said to be the new draft con­tract which ap­peared to show that they would not be given first pref­er­ence to re­tain their po­si­tions which would be ad­ver­tised six months be­fore the ex­piry of their con­tracts.

The meet­ing was co­or­di­nated by the Le­sotho Schools Prin­ci­pals As­so­ci­a­tion (LESPA).

LESPA Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Te­boho Mokhomo re­cently told the Le­sotho Times that their fears were stalked by the fact that the pro­posed con­tract had al­ready gone vi­ral on so­cial me­dia be­fore it was tabled be­fore them.

Mr Mokhomo said there were also gen­uine con­cerns es­pe­cially in light of chal­lenges that were ex­pe­ri­enced by some teach­ers last year af­ter they were made to sign con­tracts only to be told they would not re­ceive their gra­tu­ities be­cause gov­ern­ment had make the mis­take of fail­ing to save for them in the pub­lic fund.

He said they were also wor­ried about the clauses in the leaked ‘draft’ which pur­ported that the prin­ci­pals would be per­son­ally li- able for dam­ages to school prop­erty and de­duc­tions would be made from their salaries.

One of the clauses ti­tled Fu­ture Em­ploy­ment states that “six months prior to the ex­piry of the con­tract, the po­si­tion will be ad­ver­tised and be open to fair com­pe­ti­tion. Noth­ing shall be con­structed as to en­ti­tle the em­ployee pref­er­ence or ex­pec­ta­tion of re­newal”.

An­other clause states that “in the event the em­ployee neg­li­gently or will­fully mis­uses or fails to re­mit to gov­ern­ment, the gov­ern­ment levy, book fee, ex­am­i­na­tion fee or any money due to the gov­ern­ment, he or she shall be li­able to a rea­son­able de­duc­tion from his or her monthly to pay in full the amount not re­mit­ted, and such monthly de­duc­tion shall not ex­ceed one third of the em­ployee’s salary”.

Mr Mokhomo such clauses did not pro­vide guar­an­tees for their fu­ture es­pe­cially as they were of­ten asked to re­sign be­fore get­ting the new con­tracts.

“Prin­ci­pals need to en­ter into that new con­tract know­ing very clearly that they fully agree with the terms and con­di­tions of the con­tracts to avoid havoc given the pre­vi­ous bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ences,” Mr Mokhomo said.

“The con­tents of the draft we saw are very dis­turb­ing and we do not agree with some clauses. Al­though an of­fi­cial from the min­istry told us that that was not the real draft we want to see the real one be­fore be­ing given the fi­nal con­tract to sign.

“We want to look at the clauses be­fore­hand that are not favourable to us so that we can ask the min­istry to re­vise them fail­ing which we will seek le­gal ad­vice,” Mr Mokhomo said.

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