Again, teachers of the Monrovia Consolidated School Systems or MCSS are on a ‘go-slow’ strike action in demand of salary increment. Claim by the teachers points to increment in the salaries of other civil servants by the government while it continue pay little attention to them despite repeated demands.
“In fact, when the national budget for 2011-2012 was being debated at the National Legislature, we wrote the Legislature, concerning our demands. Up to date, they are yet to address themselves to the issues; they continue to tell us there are ghost names on the various payrolls,” the teachers claimed.
The Liberia Government had promised to address the demands of the teachers early next year, after it has purged the payroll of ghost names. Other than augmenting their salaries to an appreciable level, the issue of transportation allowances and scholarships are at the core of the teachers; demands. “Let me just give the three major ones that were put before the government to be addressed. They are: salary increment, transportation allowances, and both international and local scholarships to be given to teachers to improve themselves,” the teachers noted.
Moreover, the teachers had proposed the US$200.00 as the minimal salary for janitors; US$250.00 for “C” certificate holders or least teachers; US$300.00 for “B” certificate holders; as well as US$350.00 for associate degree holders, US$600 for bachelor’s degree holders and US$750.00 for master’s degree holders. We think this is fair deal advanced by the teachers, considering the economic hardship with which ordinary government employees are faced, especially those in the class room in Rural Liberia.
Now, if and only if the government could increase the salaries of other civil servants, the issue of “ghost names” should not an excuse for the delays in beefing up the financial status of those charged with the responsibility of molding the minds of our future leaders.
Even though the administration, through the Ministry of Education, must be held responsible for this situation, those who claim to be representing the interest of the people of Liberia on Capitol Hill must also take greater responsibility. Just as they are “putting their necks on the chopping board” for the US$73m for District Development, why can’t similar vow be exhibited in the interest of Liberian public school teachers who are also part of the people the lawmakers are representing?
Interestingly, most of our public officials who lived and worked in the United States of America and other countries and are very cognizant of the importance attached to teachers and nurses in those countries, seem to be far less concerned about the development of our educational and system in terms of personnel growth and development because of mere selfishness, undermining the vision of the President. It is no secret that the essence of schooling, living and working in the western world is to be capacitated to transfer such knowledge to one’s country for its improvement in terms of development. But for our dear country-Liberia, it is the opposite.
Again, we must appeal to the Liberian leader, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, on behalf of our struggling teachers, to intervene as a way of neutralizing some of the disbeliefs and negative perceptions about her administration’s vision. We think President Sirleaf’s intervention must strives toward ending the whole crisis over salary increment for teachers once and for all.