The New Dawn (Monrovia)

19 November 2012

Liberia: Public Teachers Strike Again, But...

Two hundred and seven public school teachers took to the streets of Monrovia for 2-days demanding back pay and incentives from the government through Education Ministry in Monrovia. The teachers, who displayed placards Thursday, continued their protest on Friday in front of the Education Ministry.

But Assistant Education Minister for Administration, Timothy Wilson Gaye said the situation with the striking teachers was being handled following a conference them.

"We met and appealed to them to exercise patience, and that they would be taken care of this week as we are in empathy with them as administrators, but also as teachers too," Gaye told this paper via mobile phone.

However, the spokesman for the striking teachers, William Detoe told the media that they would not to return to classes until their demands were looked into.

Detoe said since the signing of "personnel form" on 12 June of this year with the intent of receiving their salaries and incentives, the authorities at the Education Ministry continue to give them deaf-ear.

"We have protested for 2-days with our leadership meeting Ministers Mator Kpangbai and Wilson Gaye without any progress," Detoe noted. At the ministry last Thursday and Friday, officials there kept themselves away from the teachers for reasons best known themselves.

Whether or not the public notice issued by government through the Finance Ministry for salary payment to civil servants, pensioners and the general public will include the striking teachers.

The Ministry's recent public notice stated, among others, that because of the up-coming holiday period, the government through the Ministry would commence salary disbursement around the country for the month of November and December 2012, beginning November 15 (last Thursday), and ending December 04, 2012.

The noticed was signature by Deputy Minister for Expenditure Angela Cassell-Bush and Sidiki Trawally, Director of Communications all of Finance Ministry.

It can be recalled that on 4 October, a public school teacher from Nimba County dropped and died in the streets of Monrovia after he had stayed for over 3 months trying to access his 12-month back pay to no avail.

Mr. Cooper Karway, Vice Principal of the Snoh Yoolar Public School, Twah River Educational District in Nimba County walked daily from his children's residence in the Barnerville Housing Estate to Central Monrovia until he collapsed and died of frustration. He was a regular climber of the stairs of both Education and Finance Ministries in an effort to access his 1 year salary.

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