Teachers’ strike needs to be handled with care

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Teachers are mainly viewed as crusaders therefore; their sit-down-strike must be taken with care and not intimidation.

The fact that the hundred per cent increment of their salaries as demanded might seem a bit complicated putting into account the situation of the new government – the economic condition and condition of the entire civil service, better measures can be harnessed to come to terms.

In as much as teachers want 100% salary adjustment; full payment of double shifts and timely payment of their hardships and other allowances, their claims should be listened to and must not be dismissed as rubbish and unacceptable. Even fulfilling these demands could be very hard for the government, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education should not have issued a press release threatening with drastic action against teacher strikers.

This kind of action will only add salt to an injury.

As Teachers’ Union did – by distancing themselves from the teacher strikers – they still believe that sitting around the table would be able to help solve this standoff between teachers and the ministry.

“We are urging all teachers to go back to the classrooms and teach. The union will continue on the dialogue with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE) and communicate to the relevant partners for the decision that have been reached,” said Antoinette Corr, the general secretary of The Gambia Teachers Union (GTU).

It would be ludicrous to suggest that their cause is not genuine considering the number of months that some of them had to sit without receiving their allowances including double shifts. We hope that a better way is fleshed out to ensure that teachers go back to classrooms but not through means of intimidation and authoritaribe attitude.

To teachers, as Gambians, we have to understand that this is our nation; we therefore must understand that nation building requires sacred commitment and sacrifice – just as the former U.S. president, John F. Kennedy once said. “Ask not what your country can do for you but what I can do for country.”  

In as much as you have some genuine demands, for example, the timely payment of your hardship allowances, we have to give consideration to our innocent school children who are under our schooling to be become future leaders. In other words, we have to channel our demands and concerns through The Gambia Teachers Union and see how best we can come with a tangible solution rather than sitting in strike.

 We therefore call on both the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and teacher strikers to come to a negotiating table to immediately resolve this standoff.  



“Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.”

Solomon Ortiz