As Sierra Leone joins the rest of the world today in celebrating World Teachers Day, some teachers in the capital, Freetown have lamented over the poor conditions of teachers and the undue political interference into the profession.
This year’s theme, “The transformation of education begins with teachers,” makes it the 29th theme celebrating the standards in education.
Steven Kargbo, a public school teacher, while speaking to Sierraloaded, urged the governments of Sierra Leone to see to the welfare of teachers and recruit more qualified teachers into the teaching scheme because most schools are understaffed and teachers already engaged are underqualified.
He said in most public schools, most subjects don’t have teachers taking them.
“In most public schools, there is a scarcity of teachers. There are not enough teachers taking some of these subjects. You find a situation where a teacher teaches more than four subjects,” Kargbo explained.
Osman Sesay, another government school teacher called on concerned authorities to refrain from undue political interference into the activities of teachers.
“Look at the recent disagreement and ultimate standoff between the government and the Teachers Solidarity Movement, which led to a sit at home strike action by some teachers. This to me is unnecessary political interference ” he said.
Sesay said the teachers had been arbitrary arrested and publicly humilated by politicians in the course of advocating for their rights and welfare.
He continued that even though, the government had made its intention of recruiting teachers and many graduates have applied and to date, no recruitment has been carried out.
“Don’t be surprised if qualified candidates are screened out in favour of their own people,” Sesay said.
Lamenting over the fact that there are many qualified teachers in private schools, Mary Kargbo, said that it is because of the pay and general welfare that they are benefitting from private school proprietors as compared to government schools.
“I am pleading to the government to make the conditions of teachers and teaching conducive for us in public schools,” she said.
Kargbo maintained that professionalism is dying in the teaching profession and regretted that the politicians have added to the woe that has befallen Sierra Leone’s teaching profession.
Henry Davis, a parent called on the government to recruit qualified teachers into schools to ensure smooth impartation of knowledge to children since they are the leaders of the future.
“The best of a nation is rooted in the quality of teachers trained to offer services and capacity building in learners. Regardless of the level of learninging, there is always a teacher who is versed in bringing aspirations to reality,” he said.
Davis however stated that in Sierra Leone, the impact of teachers is mostly undermined for reasons best known to the concerned authorities.
“They suffer humiliation and low-class of living as compared to other fields of expertise,” he added.