Several of the teachers assigned in northwest Liberia, particularly in Lofa County, have reportedly abandoned classes to follow up their salary account numbers at the Ministry of Finance in Monrovia.
The sudden departure of the teachers for Monrovia is seriously interrupting the students’ academic progress, mainly those attending government schools that are now preparing to sit for their second marking period tests.
The teachers’ action comes about two months into classes following the reopening of schools across the country after remaining shut for months as a measure to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola outbreak.
When contacted, the Human Resource Officer assigned at the Lofa County Education Office, on Wednesday confirmed the teachers’ action.
According to him, the teachers were permitted to go to the Ministry of Finance by the county’s education board in order to run after their salary accounts.
Mr. Antonio Zayzay said the departure of the teachers was affecting academic activities in the county to the extent that most of the students have turned to farming activities.
He, however, clarified that the Ministry of Education has the teachers’ names on payroll, “only that their money was not coming directly into the respective bank accounts.
Zayzay noted that if the problems of the teachers are not urgently resolved, academic activities will come to a standstill and could affect the smooth running of schools in that part of the country.
As part of reforms to curb fraud in salary payment to government employees, the Ministry of Finance and the Civil Service Agency have employed the use of banks to disburse salaries, compelling workers to open bank accounts
In a related development, the Liberia News Agency (LINA) has reported that Teachers assigned at the Daoplay Public School in Luoguatuo, Gbehlay Geh Statutory District in Nimba County, have rallied to purchase instructional materials to continue academic activities.
Over 500 pupils are being enrolled at the junior high school in the district alone, LINA has reported.
LINA quoted Principal Behtay Beh as saying last week that since academic activities commenced in February, authorities at the Ministry of Education were yet to supply instructional materials to the school, which she said was a major constraint facing the institution.
Mr. Beh noted that to keep the school open and functional, “our instructors have willingly collected about LD10,000 among themselves to purchase basic instructional materials, including chalks, pens, markers and ledgers.”
However, the County Education Officer (CEO) of Nimba, Wleh T Sailah, responding to the report on the issue, said his office lacks a vehicle to transport school materials to every school in the district.
He said the Ministry of Education’s sub-office has asked principals through the District Education Officers to take possession of school supplies brought into the county capital, Sanniquellie by government and its partners.
He then appealed to government and partners to consider the idea of providing vehicles to the EOs throughout the country to make activities of rural education proactive.