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Last Updated: Sep 23rd, 2011 - 16:21:51 
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EDITORIALS  

Sierra Leone Teachers Strike is a Public Relations Disaster!
By Awareness Times
Sep 23, 2011, 16:07
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No single day passes by in recent weeks without seeing startling headlines heralding stories about teachers this, teachers that in our print and electronics media in Sierra Leone. This weeks teachers protest is very disturbing to say the least especially at a time when the re-branding of Sierra Leone is needed most!

 

The main reason put forward by the teachers is the lack of governments commitment to improve their salary package. And for the teachers to down their tools, this action obviously has many repercussions. The victims of the ongoing strike are the very masses that the government has promised in its manifesto four years ago concerning their education.  

 

The Awareness Times does not favour this sit-down-strike by teachers in whatever state or form. Yet, we still wonder why this problem has dragged on forever. 

 

We cannot understand why the Ministry of Education is proving incapable of finding lasting and amicable solution by allowing this shameful situation to reach this point. Teachers pay package, the bedrock of this strike, should have been handled by the Education Ministry long time ago.

 

But why? Whats the big deal in increasing teachers pay? Are they not significant? Or have our technocrats in governance forgotten so quickly that they too were once in the four walls of education where teachers taught them 1,2,3?

 

Most painful of all is the fact that many other professionals are paid very well for jobs that are not as vital as the teaching profession. Some so-called experts in the civil service and other sectors are pocketing unbelievable wages. We cant name names! 

 

Sources close to the Teachers Records Management Improvement Programme TRMIP, which began operations in Sierra Leone six years ago, have confirmed that TRMIP is equally shocked that the impasse between the teachers and the Ministry of Education has not been resolved earlier than necessary.  

 

TRMIP has made great progress in building records for all civil servants in relation to their payroll. TRMIPs efforts has resulted in significant savings on the payroll through the reduction of ghost workers and the identification of civil servants past retirement age, who have now been removed from the payroll.

 

We all know about ghost workers in this country. Its been one of the most infectious viruses Sierra Leone has ever witnessed. And one area that was and still heavily infested with ghost workers is the teaching profession. Now that TRMIPs initiative is gradually eroding ghost workers, this newspaper believes the Education Ministry must have accrued enough money previously paid to ghost workers to increase the pay package of legitimate teachers.

 

Look at our educational system today. Low waged families are feeling the brunt. The innocent children of poor families have been denied their fundamental rights to education. Because the longer the teachers strike goes on, the more destructive this public relations disaster will impact on our childrens future.

 

Private schools, where children of the well to do families are attending, have re-opened and classes are functioning normal. While the down trodden in society, as poor Sierra Leoneans are often referred to, are wasting their precious time at home, because of the teachers protest and the recalcitrance of the education ministry.


We believe this is unfair, callous and unacceptable. Sierra Leonean students and pupils must be treated equally. Our society must not be seen to be giving too much privilege only to those who are fortunate to be rich. What about the poor children? Are they not protected by our Constitution? 

 

That is why we are wholeheartedly appealing to the Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah, to see reason and try to resolve the issue NOW with the teachers!

 

As for the aggrieved teachers, please be flexible in your demands for the sake of our poor children. This tussle is a public relations disaster for Sierra Leone and additional sufferings for our poor children!


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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