Maputo, 21 Nov (AIM) – Mozambican Education Minister Carmelita Namashalua on Monday guaranteed that the overtime pay owing to the country’s teachers is being paid “gradually”.
Last week, some teachers threatened to withhold the assessments of their pupils, and to boycott the end-of-year exams, if overtime pay, owing for the past 13 months, is not paid.
The exams begin on Tuesday, and about 1.6 million primary and secondary school pupils should be examined.
Namashalua, cited by the independent television station STV, called for calm and guaranteed that the money owing to the teachers will be paid, but gradually.
She said the Ministry is aware of the problem, and that it affects teachers throughout the country. “For a year and a half we have had difficulty paying for overtime”, she admitted.
The money is now available to pay the teachers, she said, but the payments would have to be gradual, “because the Ministry of Economy and Finance has made payment conditional on verifying, on the ground, the amount of overtime worked”.
So the General Inspectorate of the Education Ministry is now checking the figures, school by school. “In those cases where there are no problems, they have already begun to pay”, said Namashalua.
In October, teachers submitted a document to the Ministry containing 18 demands. In addition to payment for overtime, the teachers protested at overcrowded classrooms, their critical working conditions, and the non-payment of various allowances.
Namashalua told reporters that, in coordination with the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of State Administration, everything was being done to respond to the teachers’ demands.
“We are working on the matter”, she claimed. “But some questions are beyond the capacity of the Ministry of Education to solve, bearing in mind that aspects such as wages and allowances, need interaction with our colleagues in the other Ministries”.
The end-of-year examinations began on Monday for sixth grade pupils throughout the country. About 978,000 pupils will be tested.
Namashalua took the opportunity to warn against examination fraud and corruption. No pupil should be allowed to pass the exams except on his or her own merit, she stressed.