March 14, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
National Secretary General for the opposition Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), Madam Isata Abdulai Kamara, has urged government to bailout striking Njala University lecturers, who have down tools for about eighty days now.
The Secretary General stated that since President Ernest Bai Koroma took the mantle of leadership, the educational sector have been in ‘shambles’.
She said education was the key to the development of any country and that government’s unexplained isolation on the Njala issue called for a serious concern.
“If the government is serious about education, let them do a bailout for Njala University so that the lecturers would go back to work. The first semester is already coming to an end and nobody is saying anything. Let them pay all the arrears. We just learnt recently that government received money for education from European Union, let them use it. Our children are tired of sitting at home,” she said.
The ADP Scribe said arrears and other benefits owed the lecturers should be paid if the government wanted to solve the problem, adding that the University was one of the main brains in Sierra Leone that admits half of the students’ population in the country, and that continuously deferring payment will add more salt to injury.
“If there is any problem between the administration and the lecturers, I think they need to settle it amicably. Let the government come and salvage the situation so that our children will go back to school. It is the only university that is on recess and nobody is saying anything,” She said.
It could be recalled that the Academic Staff Association at Njala University resumed a strike action in January, 2017 for what they considered as the administration’s refusal to pay outstanding allowances, benefits to retirees, and payment of benefits to families of deceased among host of other issues.
But the said issues were yet to be addressed by government.
Earlier, the Chairman, Leader and presidential standard bearer of the ADP, Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, said the recent barring of seventy schools from participating in the West Africa Examination Council exams was in absolute violation of the rights to education.
“The APC government is a total mess in terms of education. Pupils, students are starving of education. When I become president of this nation, no child will be left behind in terms of education,” he said.
Kamarainba said the current strike action of Njala University lecturers was not a novelty in the country, adding that since Dr. Minkalu Bah became Minister of Education, his focus has been on ghost teachers rather than addressing the massive failure of pupils in public exams.
“The signs of this imminent collapse in educational standards are now very obvious. National results in public examination say it all. The 6-3-4-4 system introduced by this government was to waste the time of pupils and not to improve the dwindling educational system,” he said.