Le300B Free Education Package Leaves 35,000 Teachers in Agony in Sierra Leone
Minister Timbo ‘what is going on’
“Teachers are the builders of the future of this country and providers of knowledge, who can transform this country through education. The future of the country would depend on the quality of education children have in schools as during my campaign periods, I saw the dilapidated schools, with teachers deprived of many facilities. I promised to look into the concerns of teachers and urge them to support education as the flagship programme of the New Direction.” President Bio assured teachers when the Executive members of the Union paid a courtesy call at state House on the 13th July 2018.
With this message from President Bio, over thirty five thousand teachers across the country were expecting improved conditions of service with the launch of the Free and Quality Education before the reopening of schools for the 2018/2019 academic year.
Teachers are aware that the Sierra Leone Teachers Union President Alhaji Mohamed Bangura help discussions with the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Schools, the Minister of Labour and HE President Bio on the following issues : Need for salary increase and improved conditions of service for teachers. Approval of schools and teacher, Promotions, Reassessment and Payment according to qualification and experience, Provision of adequate teaching and learning materials, More school structures/classrooms to cater for the envisaged rapid increase enrollment, Empowerment of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), Timely payment of school fees subsidy and or support to schools, and the recent deletion of 1,723 teachers from the payroll.
As a way of ensuring that conditions of service of teachers are improved, a source from the Labour Minister had confirmed to this medium that indeed the umbrella body of the teachers SLTU has sent in a list of their nominees and they are now waiting for Mr Alpha Timbo(the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Schools) to sent his own nominee list so as to constitute the Teaching Service Trade Group Negotiating Council (TSGNC ), which will eventually be tasked with the responsibility to negotiate the new terms and conditions as established by the Bargaining Agreement for the attention of government.
It is however unfortunate for teachers across the country to learn that despite two letters written by Ministry of Labour to remind Mr Alpha Timbo, the Government is yet to submit its own nominees. News of this delay continues to frustrate the zest of teachers who continue to suffer in the classrooms and yet government continues to put out a press release noting that the Government of the New Direction, effective the 31st December 2018, has paid the sum of 61 billion Leones for the procurement and supply of teaching and learning materials; Le 48 billion for core textbooks and other textbooks for primary schools; Le13 billion for school materials such as chalk, rulers and school registers, etc; 30% advance payment for fifty school buses and 35 billion for second term tuition fees for the 2018/2019 academic years and other related budgetary support to local councils for devolved educational functions.
Some of the teachers furthered that they support the investment in the education sector and are appealing to the authorities concerned for the speedy commencement of the Teaching Service Trade Group Negotiating Council (TSGNC ), so that the improved pay package will motivate the teachers.
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