12 September 2018

Sierra Leone: Teachers Threaten Strike Action Over Non Stipend Payment for Special Lessons

By Regina Pratt

Some teachers who were contracted to undertake special lessons for Senior Secondary School (SSS) Pupils promoted to SSS3 have threatened to stage a sit-down strike action, alleging government's failure to pay them for the service they have rendered during the vacation period.

As the New Direction administration has scrapped the 6-3-4-4 system of education, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education contracted some teachers to conduct special lessons for SSS2 students promoted to SSS3 as part of their preparation to sit to the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE). The special lessons were meant for SSS3 pupils to come to speed with those that are already in SSS4.The one month classes commenced in mid-July until August.

But according to one of the aggrieved teachers, Moses Aruna, who is attached to the University Secondary School, Njala, in the Moyamba District, they would boycott classes come Monday, September 17, if their month bonus salary was not paid.

He told the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation's 'Morning Coffee' show that some ministry authorities came to their school and requested a list of names of teachers to be contracted for the special class, adding that payment had been made to only those with pincodes.

"We have enquired but we could not get things clear from our school authorities and those teachers who were not part of the contract have received salaries. We have been teaching for the past five years without receiving salaries. I have told my colleagues, ten of us, not to teach when schools reopen on Monday, September 17," he said.

He claimed that some officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education had earlier visited the school and instructed the principal to include their payments into the accounts of teachers with pin codes, but that the latter refused on the ground that such would be construed as corruption.

Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Brima Michael Turay, noted that they have had difficulty paying some of the teachers who participated in the special lessons because they don't have pin codes and bank accounts. He assured that the ministry was in the process of adding their names to the payment voucher before this December.

Turay called on the aggrieved teachers to exercise patience, stating that government was doing everything humanly possible to make them happy.

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