Nov 19, 2010, 2:30 PM
The President of the Gambia Teachers Union (GTU), Lamin K. Marong has revealed that five dismissal letters will be issued to teachers this week for what he referred to as "gross insubordination," and that more are in the pipeline.
GTU President revealed this to more than two thousand teachers at the main GTU headquarters along MDI road in Kanifing during the GTUCCU 13th Annual General Meeting held recently.
According to Mr. Marong, the GTU secretariat and the President's Office have received reports indicating that teachers have been bypassing their line managers, and writing directly to the Permanent Secretary at the Education Ministry or to the President of the Republic.
The GTU President reminded teachers of the important roles they play in society, and of the fact that teachers' line Ministry is MoBSE.
He asserted that all their correspondence must pass through their line managers, that is, the head teachers or principals, Regional Education Director's offices and finally to their Ministry.
Mr. Marong said some teachers are fond of writing directly to the President, with the intention of creating problems for their line managers and not to solve a problem. This is insubordination, he said, adding that the President, Line Minister and Permanent Secretary are not happy that "this is happening."
Mr. Marong further revealed that such letters are referred back to the relevant authority for action, and are normally sent back to the sender.
Mr. Marong pointed out that in the past, teachers were the standard-setters in society and the civil service, adding that teachers were very respectful of age, authority and the hierarchy of the school system.
It was for these reasons, he continued, that society in turn had high regards for teachers, despite their low salaries. If that trend is now changing, he went on, teachers must ask for an explanation.
The GTU, Mr. Marong told the meeting, is here to promote and enhance the welfare of its members, as well as provide the necessary technical advice to the education sector.
"The teachers union not only gives advice, and support to members when their rights are trampled upon or when they are being abused, but it also fights for peace and justice for all, including the children entrusted in teachers' hands.
"The GTU would not support any member engaged in wrongdoing, and shall disassociate itself from members who have an allegation hanging over their head to clear," he declared.
This year alone, Mr. Marong disclosed, the reported cases include sexual assault, including the rape of students under teachers' care. Teachers have also been convicted of theft, burglary and drug trafficking, he added, and called on the teachers to work to set standards for themselves and society.
They must practise what they believe in, he went on, adding that teachers must also avoid reporting and undermining one another, and should adhere to the ethics of the profession.
Regarding the issue of "special" and "graduate" allowances denied to GTU members in government subvented schools since January 2009, Mr. Marong revealed that MoBSE has done everything humanly possible to get the said allowances included in their subventions, but to no avail.
On the subject of allowance for English, Maths and Science teachers at upper basic school and senior secondary school levels, the GTU President said, "this is a local allowance for schools to pay, depending on what their school budget can sustain."
As for the much-talk about "retention allowance" for teachers, Mr. Marong revealed that MoBSE has been working very hard to capture each teacher in the scheme, and in the right category, based on the length of service.
"Teachers who are less than 5 years in the teaching field are to receive D500 per month; teachers who served more than 5 years but less than 10 years to receive D750 per month and teachers who have served more than 10 years are to receive D1000 per month," he revealed.
He further disclosed that untrained or unqualified teachers will receive D250 per month.
The GTU President announced that the payment for the above mentioned allowances will take effect from 1st April 2010.No drawback will be paid for the past months, he said, adding that teachers, who receive the "graduate allowance", and MoBSE officials, are not entitled to the said allowances.