October 1, 2022

Huge apprehensions have been held by some teachers in government and government-assisted schools on whether government would implement the 30% increment on teachers’ salaries in April, pursuant to the Finance Act, 2020.
As it stands, the Ministry of Basic and Senior School Education (MBSSE) is challenged with addressing a few issues facing the education sector.
The issues include stalled reassessment of teachers, payment of hundreds of approved teachers with new pin codes since September 2019 and delays in the payment of second term subsides to Heads of Schools and Principals.
Against this backdrop, many teachers are worried whether the Ministry of Finance which, of late, has been delaying payment of salaries for public sector workers would be prompt in meeting their financial obligations to the teachers as committed in the 2020 budget.
A very senior official at the National Council for Head Teachers (NCHT) who spoke to this medium on condition of anonymity said they were “very doubtful” whether government would implement the said increment on time in the face of what obtains in the sector.
He recounted that the daily management of public schools in the last two years had been plagued with serious financial challenges.
‘’We, as heads of schools, especially in the primary school level; are constrained in managing our schools with just Le 10,000 subsidy per pupil against a challenging economy,’’ the source noted.
Payment of this meager subsidy, the source went on, was most times delayed making it difficult for us to attend to some of our unpaid staff, meet costs of extra-curricular activities like sports, thanksgiving among others as well as undertaking maintenance and repairs of school buildings and furniture.
MBSSE is currently doing headcounts of schools with a view to obtain relevant data for use in the payment of subsidies a situation, the source said, had “seriously delayed” payment of subsidies.
A meeting of the Conference of Principals and the NCHT of the Western region held quite recently in Freetown resolved to highlight a number of these challenges to the MBSSE for their immediate attention.
The membership of the two bodies expressed their dissatisfaction over the state of affairs in their various schools adding that the situation had been impacting on the level of productivity of their teachers.
The ‘New Direction’ government has been criticized for not paying serious attention to the issue of teachers’ welfare. Two years down the line, government has not made any meaningful strides towards addressing the issue of teachers.
The outcome of the negotiations by the Teaching Service Trade Group Negotiating Council (TSTGNC) geared towards discussing an appreciable package for teachers is still shrouded in secrecy.
Sources within the TSTGNC have told this medium that the institution’s negotiations agreed on a very reasonable package for teachers, but government has since failed to commit themselves to implement the new improved welfare for teachers.
The parent body, the Sierra Leone Teachers Union has been criticized for reneging to take government on the plight of their membership.
President Mohamed Salieu Bangura told this medium that they are concerned over the challenges faced by their membership. Bangura said they were continuously engaging government with a view to getting them to address the issues of reassessment of teachers, payment of teachers with new pin codes, payment of subsides etc.
He is hopeful that government will actualise the 30% increment o teacher salaries as agreed.