By Foday Moriba Conteh
Dr. David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has on Tuesday 10th November 2020 revealed to the Executive of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) that fifteen billion Leones has been budgeted for the re-assessment of over four thousand teachers who have worked for years on their old salary scales.
This was disclosed when the SLTU Executive headed by the Secretary General, Morris Conteh, engaged the Minister Dr. David Sengeh, the Deputy Minister Madam Gogra and the Permanent Secretary to pledge their continued commitment to work with the Ministry and Government in pursuance of President Bio’s flagship programme. The meeting also focuses on the discussion of issues affecting the welfare of teachers in the country.
Welcoming the Union, the Permanent Secretary, David Banya, noted that SLTU very is paramount in the Free Quality Education programme as the teachers are the engine for the successful implementation of the project and with this the ministry is always ready to sit and discuss issues with them.
The Secretary General of the Union, Morris Conteh, revealed the high expectations of the SLTU leadership, teachers and education stakeholders towards the pronouncement of the Free Quality Education by HE President Julius Maada Bio in his manifesto and State Opening of Parliament. He reiterated that the membership is prepared to work assiduously to actualize the President’s vision.
The Secretary General furthered that their there is huge task in the Education sector looking at the multiple problems of the teachers, schools and the teaching profession as a whole.
“As this year has been declared a Year of Delivery by the New Direction Government, SLTU would like to draw the attention of the Minister to some of the burning issues: Recruitment, Promotion and Reassessment, the payment of teachers with Pin-codes, Non-payment of fees and subsidies for Second and Third terms, signing and Gazetting of the collective Agreement, Challenges of COVID 19 in schools, approval of teachers , more school structures/ classrooms to cater for the rapid increased enrolment and the timely payment of school fees subsidy,” he stated.
The Deputy Minister Madam Gogra welcomed the Executive of SLTU and noted that their concerns are not new as the Ministry is seriously working on most of them. She stressed that on the approval of schools, they have done community engagement but is said to note that some people emerge with schools but cannot provide the necessary documents or go through the correct process. She also revealed that some people go to the rural areas to be approved and after that they moved away from that location to urban areas.
The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr David Sengeh, commended the Union for their support and stressed the need for meeting quarterly so as to discuss issues related the teaching profession. He made the following disclosures:
Re-assessment –as a Government that is interested in the human development, a budget of Le 15 Billion is slated for the re-assessment of over four thousand teachers. With this the Ministry is striving very hard to put smiles on the faces of these hard working teachers who have worked for years on their old salary scales.
Recruitment –Retirement– as one thousand six hundred teachers have retired, the Ministry is working very hard to replace these teachers. It is unfortunate that most teachers do not want to go to the remote areas to help their brothers and sisters.
Promotion– the Ministry supports the guidelines of the Teaching Service Commission in the promotion of teachers.
Subsidy-he has instructed the Deputy to set up a taskforce to look into issues related to schools affected.
US 66Million – construction and rehabilitation of over five hundred classrooms, alongside provision of furniture in deprived schools. With this type of engagement with SLTU, the Minister accorded them to make some recommendations towards some of these schools.