More than 200 public school teachers in Bong County under the auspices of “Supplementary Teachers,” have threatened not to return to the classroom this academic school year if the government does not place them on regular salary.
Supplementary teachers are those whose names are not on government’s regular payroll, but are paid at the discretion of the government despite being qualified to teach.
Josiah Kollie, secretary-general of the aggrieved teachers told this newspaper over the weekend in Gbarnga that for the past ten years, some of them have worked as supplementary teachers, and are paid L$6,000, L$7,000 or L$9,000, irrespective of whether they are qualified with Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees in education from universities and colleges in the country.
“More about these supplementary teachers is that the salary is not regular as compared to the ‘regular teachers’, and the sad thing about this program is the salary will take some times, two to three months before one can get it in arrears,” Mr. Kollie said.
“We will not return to the classroom until the government can place our names on the regular payroll, because we have been teaching for the past ten years, and nothing the government is doing to resolve this problem,” the irate teachers spokesperson lamented.
The teachers said that they have made several frantic attempts to get the matter amicably resolved over the long years, “but it appears that the government is insensitive to our plight.”
Kollie added, “we wonder why the government is reluctant to put our names on its regular payroll when some of us have the requisite qualification and experience.”
He said that the government’s action is to some extent demoralizing the supplementary teachers.
“Most teachers have to maintain a household, which typically comprises of four-five people, on a salary of considerably less than two dollars a day. Pay levels, even for qualified teachers are around three times less than the cost of a minimum needs wage basket for a four-person household,” Kollie said.
Meanwhile, the irate teachers have called on authorities of the Ministry of Education to place their names on the regular salary payroll or else they will put down their chalk until their concerns are addressed.
The office of the County Chief Education in Bong has promised to forward the teachers’ concerns to the central office in Monrovia, but did not say when the communication would reach the Monrovia national office.