13 February 2018

Liberia: Doctors, Teachers' Salaries to Be Reviewed

Presidential Press Secretary Sam Mannah says President George Manneh Weah is committed to reviewing the entire civil service pay structure here, expressing his unhappiness over teachers' salaries.

"But the president is committed to reviewing the entire salary structure of our civil service for all sectors, the doctors, the nurses, teachers, all those other various groups. He is committed to reviewing them to see how best we can enhance it," Mr. Mannah said Friday, 9 February during a press briefing in Monrovia.

During a closed - door meeting with the National Teachers Association and the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) in the Cabinet Room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mannah said President Weah was very shocked on hearing the salaries of teachers.

But he said such intervention which is not only for teachers will go across the board eventually, clarifying that it does not mean that people should expect immediate increase in salaries.

According to Mr. Mannah, President Weah said he will speak with the Finance Minister and other authorities in charge to see how they can improve the welfare of teachers because he doesn't believe that their salaries represent the sacrifices that they are making.

During the meeting, Mr. Mannah said the teachers requested Mr. Weah to look into reinstating their colleagues who were allegedly dismissed illegally for disagreeing with authorities.

Based on the request, he said Mr. Weah has informed the Deputy Education Minister for Administration to form a team to investigate the issue and see if the dismissed teachers can be reinstated based on their findings.

The head of the group Madam Mary Molubah said theywere happy for meeting the president, saying they informed him of how teachers were dismissed illegally. She says they complained against giving the school system here to Bridge Academy, adding that were dismissed for kicking against the idea.

Madam Molubah argues that Bridge Academy allegedly failed in other countries including Kenya and Uganda, adding that Liberia is not ready for it. She also says they requested the president to seek the welfare of teachers, claiming that they are being intimidated on the higher level, paid low salaries, and need their capacity to be built.

She supported Education Minister - designate Prof. Ansu Sonii's argument that there were unqualified teachers, saying some with "C" certificates are teaching senior high schools when they should be teaching elementary.

But she wants them to be placed where they belong and to be dismissed as announced by Prof. Sonii.

In a related development, President Weah is said to be proposing the formation of a government monitoring group to be called "National Monitoring Team," responsible to monitor all of the various sectors, government agencies, ministries and autonomous agencies to assess their performances.

According to Press Secretary Mannah, changes will be made where it is determined that certain areas are not performing. He says it is in the pipeline to form the institution.

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