Catholic Students’ Strike Continues

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Striking Catholic students on Friday blocked the main entrance to the Ministry of Education in Monrovia calling for the intervention of authorities to solve the standoff.

Teachers of the Catholic Education Secretariat (CES) for the past week embarked on a go-slow-action in demand for five months’ salary arrears.

The teachers’ go-slow led students of the Catholic School System, especially 9th and 12th graders, to blockade the MOE calling for its intervention.

Soon after schools reopened on February 16, CES teachers began to demand for the resignation of Rev. Fr. P. Sumo Varflee Mulbah of the system, for what they described as his “disrespectful posture towards us, because we are teachers.” The teachers also demanded their five-month salary arrears or they would not return to work.

At a well-attended meeting in Monrovia prior to the student demonstration over the weekend, the teachers resolved not to return to class until their demands are fully addressed.

The head of the Association of Catholic School Teachers and Support Staff, Alphonso Nimely Quire, strongly reaffirmed their action to keep the pressure on the CES to pay them, along with other benefits since September last year.

The teachers’ action gained solidarity with the students on Friday when they demanded their teachers return to class, seeking the intervention of the Ministry of Education.

The students’ demonstration brought normal businesses and free-flow of traffic to a halt in Monrovia, but MOE assured them that they would intervene today, Tuesday and appealed to the teachers to return to class.

For the students, particularly, the 9th and 12th graders, they said they are concerned about their readiness for upcoming exams which are annually administered by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in May and June.

“We are so worried because the strike or this go-slow by our instructors will cause us not to cover most of the topics in the new curriculum for the tests in May and June,” several senior students at the Cathedral High School on Snapper Hill told the Daily Observer yesterday.

Meanwhile, a statement on the state of affairs in the school system of the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia under the signature of P. Sumo-Varfee Molubah of the CES said, efforts are underway to resolve the impasse amicably.

At the same time, latest report says the striking teachers have agreed to resume work today Tuesday following the intervention of officials of the MOE.

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