By: Mr Sulayman Saidy
A committee leading the striking teachers has vowed that no amount of threat will make them retreat or surrender unless their demands are met.
The self-styled “Teachers for Change” task force committee made the vow during a radio program aired over Paradise FM yesterday. According to the committee, their sit-down strike will continue until their demands are met by the government. Teachers across the country are boycotting classes demanding for 100 percent pay rise, increment of their allowances, provision of identity cards to be issued to teachers by the Gambia Teachers Union [GTU] among other things. The committee also decried lack of hardship allowance to those teachers posted to hardship schools.
“The community needs to appreciate teachers as they contribute positively in community development by educating the children of the community as saying goes education is the key to success,” the committee stated. “Teachers cannot be threatened by anybody regardless of your position because we are exercising our human rights which is freedom of expression,” the committee added. The committee argued that the government was voted into office by the people which led to the democratic environment prevailing in the country.
This reporter later talked to some students to get their reactions to the strike and almost all of them supported the sit-down strike action. “Our teachers are not well-paid, they are not respected, they are living in poor economic and living conditions. They can only afford bicycles and cannot paid their house rents with other expenses,” the students said.