By Momodou Jarju/Nelson Manneh/Yankuba Jallow/ Louise Jobe
Members of the taskforce for ‘Teachers for Change’ (TFC), insist that nothing can stop them from embarking on their sit-down strike, if the authorities did not meet their demands.
Foroyaa conducted a tour of Schools in the Greater Banjul Area, and as well called School Heads in the Western, Central, Lower and Upper River Regions as well as the North Bank Region, to know what the situation was on the ground in these areas. Reliable information reaching Foroyaa have it that teachers have not reported in St. Charles and Albreda Upper and Senior Schools. The Principal of Tallinding Upper Basic Cycle School Demba Keita, said seventy five percent of his teachers reported on Monday; that they had a big assembly where he informed the students that normal lessons will resume on Tuesday for both the morning and afternoon shifts; that because Monday was the opening day, they did not keep the students long at School, and they are preparing their timetable for lessons which would be given to all teachers.
“Two teachers in fact called me and told me that they are going somewhere and cannot report to School today,” he said. By 12pm, almost all of the students who reported to School went home, while few teachers were seen seated at one of the verandas.
Contrary to what the principal said, Baba S Touray, an English teacher of the aforesaid School, said the majority of the teachers across the country, did not report to their Schools.
Touray said only the newly posted teachers from Gambia College, few senior teachers and the Principals, reported to their Schools.
Ebrima John, literature teacher at Kanifing East Junior School, said about eighty or more teachers, reported to their School out of over a hundred; that the strike wasn’t effective in the Greater Banjul Area, saying perhaps the rural areas might prove otherwise.
An anonymous source from St. Therese’s’ Upper Basic School said, half of the teachers in their School, reported on Monday. The source disclosed they will resume effective learning on Tuesday; that people may wait in two or three days and see whether the said strike will be effective; but that as of yesterday, things were normal. The source further indicated they are expecting the arrival of teachers who will be posted to their School before the end of the week.
However this reporter witnessed that the turn-out at the School was very impressive. The students could be seen on the School campus between 12 and 1pm.
Lamin Fatty, reporting from Basse indicated to this medium that the area has not been effectively affected by the strike. “Some teachers have reported to their respective Schools. Today is the opening day of School and we cannot tell what the teachers here in Basse, will do. I believe that in these coming days, people will know their fate,” he said.
Muhammed Barrow from LRR, Dodou Sanyang from NBR and Adama Ceesay from CRR, all gave similar reports. However at the St. Charles Luanga School in Latrikunda, both the Upper and Lower Basic teachers, did not show up. Visiting the School, our reporter could only see the administrative staff on campus.
In Kabafita and Brikama Nema Lower Basic Schools, the teachers were seen within the School premises and there was no learning taking place. Anonymous sources from the School said seventy five percent of the teachers reported.
Meanwhile, the TFC taskforce stated that the strike will be effective, come these days; that they have decided and nothing can stop them until their demands are met by the authorities.
Meanwhile, the taskforce of the Network of Mission Teachers, have written to the Catholic Education Secretariat informing them of the strike. The letter indicated that they have now joined with TFC. The letter reminded the Secretariat of their demands that is yet to be fulfilled. The demands are as follows: January and August transport and other allowances, for the past years, payment of allowances to study teachers on leave, and payment of their savings to their respective accounts.
Recently, the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education has been seen on television, urging teachers to report to their various Schools.