By Yankuba Jallow
Teachers under the General Secretariat of Arabic and Islamic Teachers, (Amanah), on Sunday held a mega consultative meeting to demand their rights from their authorities and to discuss the way forward.
The ‘Amanah’ teachers who comprise over 300 members from Regions 1 to 6, include Principals, Vice Principals and teachers as well as other staff. The group was founded on the 10th of March 2018 and serve as the body for the Union of Arabic teachers (Amanah).
The teachers said they were among those who contributed to effect changed by voting against the former president but held that change on their side is yet to happen; that they have rights like other teachers in conventional Schools and want to see an all-inclusive change across the board.
The ‘Amanah’ teachers have an Executive Committee mandated by them to fight on their behalf to effect change regarding their welfare. According to the Executive, they have been engaging Government and relevant stakeholders about their concerns, but the situation remains the same; that they wrote to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education with six demands which according to them, is yet to be taken care of.
On the warning letter they received from their General Secretariat threatening to block their salaries, they said this emboldens them to remain steadfast and continue the fight for their rights.
The teachers said they wrote to Gambia Teachers Union (GTU), the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, their General Secretariat as well as the National Assembly, reminding them of the initial letters they wrote to them; that all efforts proved futile; that they visited GRTS and were videoed but that these were never aired.
“We are fighting for our rights lawfully and we are not afraid of the outcome. We raised our concerns and we expect them to be looked into. We are ready to cooperate with anybody to see that our problems are solved amicably,” they said.
On the issue of blocking their salaries, the teachers say they received information from some of their colleagues who are currently on strike, that their salary for the month of April 2018, has been blocked by ‘Amanah’; that the salaries of over 40 staff have been blocked of recent; that Omar Jammeh, the Director of Education at ‘Amanah’, told them that his office has received the letter from the Teachers for Change, but did not consider it.
One of the members of the Teachers for Change said the Human Resource Manager for ‘Amanah’ Omar Ceesay, threatened him on telephone that if he does not return to School, he will join his name to those whose salaries are currently been blocked.
The teachers disclose that they have written to the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the issue and the Office promised to get back to them in fourteen (14) days.