Home | News    Wednesday 24 August 2011

Central Equatoria approves formation of teaching union

August 23, 2011 (JUBA) - Central Equatoria’s governor Clement Wani Konga on Tuesday announced his approval of the establishment of a teachers union as a professional board to regulate the profession in the state.

Students take part in an English class at a government school in Bentiu on November 13, 2010 (AFP)

The governor said it was high time the teaching profession was regulated to check on growing violations of professional ethics and code of conduct.

“Let it be established, and teachers be regulated in accordance to the rules and acceptable standards,” the governor told teachers on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day in a statement read out on his behalf on by the state minister of education.

Manasseh Lomole, Deputy Governor and a minister of education said Wani denounced the current trend in which teachers were hired on grounds of language fluency, saying teaching is more than mastering a language. The governor was reacting to the request made by teachers across the state to form a professional body which would coordinate issues pertinent to the teaching profession.

Wojo Ladu Gore, who spoke at the occasion on behalf of the teachers said the teachers met with other stakeholders in 2009 and resolved to form the board.

"As a follow-up to the meeting, we submitted to the Ministry of Education in the state a draft bill and recommendations on the matter in September 2009.

“We decided to send a reminder and a copy of our proposal to the Ministry of Education in July this year but no response has come so far,” he said, pleading with the governor to give the matter its due prominence.

This institution, according to the teachers’ association, would regulate the profession, oversee teaching ethics and conduct, determine professional standards and qualification for teachers at different levels as well as disqualification of teachers when deemed necessary.

Governor Wani commended the teachers for their efforts to develop the education sector since he came to the office in 2005. Over the past five years, Wani said his state has registered high achievements in terms of enrollment rates, expansion of education sector infrastructure and increase in budgetary resources for the sector as well as putting in place a conducive environment for teachers.

The governor pledged to continue improving teachers’ welfare and the quality of education in the state. Starting the next financial year, he said, the government will allocate more funds for the construction of teachers’ houses.

“We cannot afford the budget for construction of all houses at one time, but in a ring fence arrangement we will allocate considerable amount every year for the purpose,” he said amid applause from the crowd.

The government, he stated, would also address the teacher shortage by producing at least 2,000 new teachers annually as well as reviewing their salaries in line with their promotions.

He also stressed the need for the establishment of a private school fees regulatory board, saying it is high time the government checked what higher fees are charged by private schools in the country.

The deputy governor spent some time reacting to teachers’ concerns and promised to address pending issues and provide solutions over the next year. Earlier, the Minister for Education said the government was planning to construct vocational training centers in all the counties of the state.

Equally, the government plans to introduce special salaries to all supervisory cadres of the education sector including all heads of schools, ward and district education coordinators, teachers’ college principals, coordinators of teachers’ colleges and all other people acting in capacity of the county education officers.

He said the government was also planning to form an independent division within the ministry for procurement and distribution of teaching and learning materials. The project will run between 2010 and 2015.

In their message to the state government, the teachers provided a list of 12 proposals they wants the government to address in order to improve the education sector. They demanded an independent teachers’ service authority instead of the Teachers Service department saying the latter has no capacity to oversee the sector.

“We plead to you, your Excellency, for the re-introduction of Responsibility and Teaching allowances because teachers are burdened with huge tasks unlike other civil servants,” the message said.