Dr. Staneala M. Beckley
Dr. Staneala M. Beckley, the Chairperson of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), on the 1st April 2020 asserted that teachers are the best asset in the country and assured that untrained and unqualified teachers would not be neglected as a lot of them are serving in most parts of the country.
She articulated that they want to change the narrative, minds and disposition of the pubic to influence decision-making and support the Free Quality Education, that the TSC has come a long way highlighting the recruitment of staff, establishment of offices in all 16 districts, that they are proud of the work done so far and that the TCS has taken over the key functions from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education like teacher management, payroll and finance, monitoring, supervision and movement of teachers.
She made the statement at the conference room of the TSC on Pricilla Street in Freetown in the presence of various stakeholders including representatives of the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union, the Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools, the Head Teachers’ Council, Civil Society Organizations, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, the media and other stakeholders as partners discuss pertinent issues affecting teachers.
“Registration and Licensing of Teachers, Teacher Management and Performance, Corporate Services are some of the departments in the TCS,” she informed reiterating that teachers play a key role in the development of any country but stressed that the TSC wants quality teachers to increase the performable of pupils in public examinations observing that it is a long and difficult journey and disclosed plans to invite the media to various parts of the country to assess the situation of teachers on the ground.
She further enlightened that there are 33,000 teachers on Government payroll, a number that would further increase to respond to the needs of the Free Quality Education, that some teachers are doing well in spite of the challenges, that a pilot study has been conducted to license trained and qualified teachers that has been approved by Parliament.
On teacher development performance, the chairperson said teachers would be sensitized about what is expected of them, that teachers are the best asset in Sierra Leone, that teachers are part of Government’s vision and welfare, that the TSC would leave no stone unturned to realize that vision and affirmed that Sierra Leone still has remnants of its past glory stressing that they would not do away with untrained and unqualified teachers adding that the TSC does not want a concentration of trained and qualified teachers in urban areas.
Dr. Staneala M. Beckley also disclosed plans to introduce radio, TV and online teaching programs due to the corona virus pandemic and that some of the programs would continue even after the end of the pandemic or when schools reopen in the core subjects including English Language, Mathematics and Integrated Science, that the TSC would work with Government and private schools intimating that the TSC has trained “10,000 teachers on the Teachers’ Code of Conduct. Discipline and quality of teachers are priorities that cannot be compromised.”
She said online teaching would also be introduced for teachers to empower themselves during the corona virus pandemic including how to develop a portfolio, that the Commission has zero tolerance on a lot of issues for which there are sanctions for non-compliance all aimed at improving the performance of teachers revealing that TSC has deployed trained and qualified teachers to remote parts of the country with incentives like accelerated promotions, financial emoluments and housing among others and issued 8,000 pin codes while 6,000 teachers are on Government payroll as of February this year.
She said some of the issues raised by teachers are beyond the control of the Commission as some teachers are not meticulous when giving their details to institutions like NASSIT and the National Civil Registration Authority thus creating conflicting information.
Earlier, the Public Relations Manager of TSC, Mrs. Jamie Victory Sankoh disclosed that the press conference is for various partners to discuss pertinent issues affecting teachers.
She continued that the press conferences would now be held monthly to inform the public about the successes and challenges of the Commission, close the communication gap, that the TCS is tasked with the responsibility of seeking the welfare of teachers, revealed that teachers are the third largest workforce in the civil service and furthered that the press conference was also for partners to discuss the strides the Commission have made.
The question and answer session climaxed the well-attended event.