The Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) has issued an ultimatum to government to ensure that all newly recruited teachers countrywide as well as school subsidies are paid before the end of the month.
This was emphasized yesterday by Abu Thoronka, the Central Zonal Chairman during a meeting with members of the Headteachers Council for the western area at the St Edwards Primary school at Fort Street.
He explained to the rather dissatisfied headteachers who have not received school subsidies for the past two terms all what has transpired between the Union and the Ministry.
The Zonal Chairman notified the meeting that “top executive members of the SLTU met the Minister of Education, Dr. Alpha Wurie, on the issue of school subsidies and non payment of newly recruited teachers since January.”
Thoronka alleged that Dr. Wurie showed concern and assured the executive that action would be taken to address the situation, while at the Finance Ministry they too expressed their concern on the issue.
According to Thoronka, the finance officials explained that they have already exceeded the employment ceiling to about 1,377 teachers and that they had to sit down again with World Bank officials to reconcile the figures so that payment will be made.
These affected teachers, he said, are those that are recruited and posted to the newly built and opened schools round the country, and lamented that they asked the finance officials for how long are they going to sit and negotiate with the World Bank officials when the teachers are suffering.
He explained that they have appealed to the stakeholders to ensure that they pay those whose forms have been approved, but that has fallen on deaf ears, and accused the Education Ministry of being responsible for the plight of these teachers because of its recruitment into these new schools.
Without the payment of teachers and school subsidies, he said, “effective education would not go on and would lead to poor performance in the schools,” noting that “subsidies are weapons and tools to run the school smoothly”.
Today, he disclosed, the union would be meeting with the stakeholders to take a position on the present issues and if no concrete result is forthcoming, “it would lead to a stand still, as we have been exercising constraints and lots of patience on this issue.”
He went on, “we do not want to create any situation that would result in the outbreak of law and order in this country any longer.”
The Chairman went on to say that if they had allowed them to collect subsidies from the pupils the problem will not have happened but they decided to pay “and now they have put us in dilemma.”