Teachers’ retirement call rumour dismissed



MASERU – The Ministry of Education has distanced itself from the announcement making rounds on social media platforms that teachers aged 60 years and above who wish to retire can approach the ministry to have their retirement processed. The announcement, purportedly issued by the Teaching Service Department (TSD), reads: “The teaching Service Department (TSD) informs all teachers born in 1963 and beyond, who wish to retire as per Section 62 (1) of the Basic Education Act 2020 as amended to report to the ministry’s human resource offices”.

However, in an interview with Public Eye, the Minister of Education, Professor Ntoi Rapapa, said the ministry has not made any announcement regarding teachers’ retirement. He, however, said the quoted Act – Basic Education Act of 2020, through its Section 62 (1) offers the opportunity to teachers who wish to retire early.He said the Education Act allows teachers to retire at the age of 60, only if they wish to articulating that the compulsory retiring age is 65 years.

“The ministry has not made such an announcement. The provision is enclosed in Basic Education Act of 2020 and has been ongoing since 2020,” he said. Lesotho Association of Teachers secretary general, Letsatsi Ntsibulane, also told Public Eye that they have not officially received this announcement from the ministry.  He said he only became aware of it from social media – with someone working in government’s pensions department asking him to share it with his colleagues.

Ntsibulane, however, stated that even if it was legitimate, he doubts the government would afford to send teachers on early retirement considering that it is currently struggling to pay teachers outstanding arrears which include, among others, principals’ acting allowances, packages for teachers who have already retired and schools’ utility grant. “Even though this would be a good move to make room for new teachers to be hired, it will have financial implications that the government will not afford even if it tried.

“This will mean, the government would have to pay the retiring teacher 50 percent of their retirement package and monthly salaries until they die while also paying salaries of teachers that will be appointed to fill the gaps. It will be an ambitious move indeed,” he said.

Ntsibulane further noted that they have a lot of teachers aged 60 and above who will jump at an opportunity to retire early but the question is whether the government will be able to give them their dues once they retire or the teachers are going to be stranded after leaving their jobs and end up destitute. According to Ntsibulane, the government has taken more than five years without issuing schools’ utility grant, one of the reasons he alleges contributes to the deteriorating education quality across the country. HHe said, among others, Qacha’s Nek district’s acting principals have not been paid their acting allowances dating back to 2012.

“So do we really believe that even if this was true the government was not going to afford it, this has a lot of financial implications the government cannot afford,” Ntsibulane said. Ntsibulane further said the Basic Education Act (2020) affords teachers who were already engaged before its amendment to retire between the ages 50 and 60, while those appointed after its amendment can only retire between the ages 60 and 65. “We have a lot of 60-year-old teachers who are willing to retire, but challenge is: Will they get paid on time or not,” he said. Lesotho Schools Principal Association(LESPA) General Secretary and Principal at Lesia High School, Mathafeng Moteuli, said he also received the announcement via social media and nothing formal has been communicated to them.

He, however, said despite its authenticity, the information is enclosed in the Basic Education Act (2020).  He said he highly recommends that teachers aged 60 and above retire and make room for new graduates who are currently struggling with unemployment. Moteuli said the challenge will be whether they will get their retirement packages on time so that they can survive after leaving their respective jobs. He said they have been experiencing a challenge where teachers are struggling to get their retirement packages and others even died without getting their dues.

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