Monday, January 24, 2022

Senior educationalists take Govt to court over change in salary structure

Hundreds of senior education officers have launched a court action against government following its decision to upgrade the salary scales of Secondary School and Primary School heads.

According to court papers filed this week and passed to The Telegraph, the education officers who are Principal Education Officers are challenging the decision on the grounds that the government sidelined them and ensured that Secondary School Heads progressed to D1 and their deputies to D2 scales while Primary School Heads progressed to D2 and their Deputies to D3.

The applicants state that the circular announcing progression in salary scales for Secondary and Primary School Heads “leaves us out in the grades we have always been.”

“As superiors and/supervisors to school heads, the entire cadre of Education Officers had legitimate expectation that their grades would also be elevated accordingly,” state the applicants through their attorneys, Motlhala Rabashwa Ketshabile Attorneys.

Alternatively, as supervisors or superiors to School Heads, the entire cadres of Education Officers argue that they are entitled to have their grades elevated accordingly.

They say they are superiors to and supervisors of school heads; even in terms of qualifications, Education Officers are generally more qualified than school heads.

“More importantly, while the entry level qualification for Education Officers is a Bachelor’ Degree, the entry level qualification for school heads is lower. In Primary Schools, some of the heads only have Diploma or even just Certificate qualifications only,” they say. They argue that since some of them are inspectorate for primary schools and supervise head teachers, they should be graded above the latter.

In a reply affidavit, acting Senior Manager in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Matlhogonolo Mokakapadi said school heads are in their own right members of management in terms of labour laws.

Mokakapadi said school heads require close supervision hence there is no need to employ someone with a man duty to supervise them. Mokakapadi said since the implementation of levels of operation, Principal Education officers have never reviewed School Heads adding that School Head do not directly report to them.

“Instead, Primary School Head report to Chief Education Officers while Junior Secondary School Head and Senior Secondary School Heads are reviewed by Directors Regional Operators,” said Mokakapadi.

Replying to Mokakapadi’ affidavit, the Principal Education Officers state that the Ministry of Education has never informed them whether in writing or orally that they no longer supervise School Heads. They argue that Principal Education Officers II inspectorate Primary Schools and Principal Education Officers supervise Secondary School Heads directly adding that school heads request leave days from the Principal Education Officers even after implementation of Levels of Operations.

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