From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Striking MMTC Students expose inept minister
By Augustine Samba
May 25, 2010, 19:32

Hundreds of students of the Congo Cross Campus of the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology on Monday 24th May 2010 stormed the Ministry of Education in protest over the undue treatment of their tutors by government in meeting their salary demands that has crippled academic exercise for the past month. What started as a peaceful demonstration turned riotous as students blocked the main Motor Road, obstructing vehicular traffic. They were only prevailed upon by some police officers after nearly an hour of stand off.

According to one of the disgruntled students who gave her name as Marian Sandy, they decided to take to the streets because of their tutorsí refusal to attend to their classes for nearly a month now which she said is blamed on ministryís inability to meet their salary demands. "Our lectures have ceased to deliver because it has taken them three months without salary from government," she revealed. In addition she said the lecturers felt deceived by the APC government for reneging on their 20% salary increase promise since last year.

At New England, the irate students demanded an explanation from the minister who confessed that indeed government has failed to fulfill the promise of 20% increment. He however stopped short of saying that the lectures have been making representation in that regard. "Government is ready to pay the 20% but lecturers should make the claims and present it to the ministry for processing," he said. He thereafter appealed to the students for the inconveniences the misunderstanding has created in their academic work, promising that they were working on modalities to resolve the problem.

A Diploma II student who identified himself as James Kelly Jalloh expressed their frustration over the ministerís inept approach to education. According to him even when Student Union executive met Dr. Minkailu Bah sometime back in an attempt to resolve the matter, he treated them with levity, leaving the impasse unresolved. "This is damaging especially to our final year colleagues who are to start the NCTVA exams on the 10th of June."

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