28 December 2012

Gambia: West Coast Teachers Complain About Salary Payments

Teachers in the West Coast Region have complained about delays and difficulties of receiving salaries due to the availability of one Pay Master serving the whole region.

According to the teachers, despite the huge size of the region and the high number of teachers to be served because of the increased number of schools, the situation of having only one Pay Master to cover the whole region has been going on for a while now and that nothing has been done to address the difficulties being faced in receiving their salaries on time. The teachers complain about the practical difficulties they are always confronted with during pay day as some of them who are in schools that are off the road (main highways) are asked to come to the schools that are on the road or to come to the Brikama Regional office during holidays to receive their monthly salaries. They said the teachers in the worst situation are those who are in the far eastern part of the Fonis where a proper transportation network to reach the main roads is lacking.

One of the teachers said "We sweat in the classroom and we sweat before we receive our salaries."

He said some of the affected teachers come from schools that are about 8 to 12 kilometres away from the main road and are compelled to struggle in order to get their bona fide salaries. He added that troubles are worse on occasions like the Koriteh, Tobaski or Christmas feasts when they queue up for very long hours into the night for them to their salaries or one-by-six loans.

When this reporter visited the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education on Monday, 24 December, he was told by the Secretary that the Deputy Permanent Secretary was indisposed but that he can drop the questions for onward transmission, which the reporter did. The Secretary promised to get back to him when the DPS is less busy. However, when she was contacted again to enquire about the appointment, the Secretary told the reporter that she will contact him whenever the DPS is ready to talk to the press. Foroyaa will publish the views of the ministry whenever they are ready to talk.

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