THE continued wrangling between the government and civil servants, especially teachers, it’s not good for the country’s education sector.
Both parties should take advantage of the current closure to find ways to resolve their long-standing dispute on working conditions and remuneration.
Recently the government met with civil servants and reached a deadlock on salary review with the latter adamant they must be paid their salaries in hard currency. They are demanding a monthly US$540 salary besides other benefits.
Teachers, as they have done before, continued to threaten to embark on a crippling industrial action as and when schools re-open if the issues of working conditions and remunerations are not resolved.
The educators in 2008 went on debilitating rolling strikes and these should never be allowed to recur.
Then at the height of the country’s political crisis and economic malaise our children were affected by the constant bickering and start-stop nature in which schools were opened and closed.
Authorities and workers movements should never sacrifice the future of children for selfish ends.
As schools are expected to re-open in February, the appeal to teachers in the hallowed profession is to put the interests of the children first. The country’s future rests on them and it is vital that the nation handle this very important and fragile part of their lives with utmost care.
It is our appeal to teachers to allow these children to attend school without hindrance, but in the same vein we urge authorities to also be sincere in their interactions with teachers.
Teachers used to be respected social leaders in communities back in the day but have become a laughing stock, earning at times way less than commuter omnibus touts. It is an indictment on those in charge of the government apparatus of this country.
The government should be careful that in trying to save parents and guardians from profiteering school authorities it might actually trigger extra-curricular ways of extortion within the education system.
There is no need to knee jerk reactionary tactics in trying to control the way schools private and public operate and charge fees.
All policy considerations and announcements should be for the good of school children.
If we fail on this one, posterity will judge us harshly!