October 2, 2015 By Samuel Ben Turay
The Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union (SLTU) is embarking on a nationwide biometric registration of teachers to provide a database for all approved teachers and to issue them with identity cards, according to Secretary-General Davidson Kuyateh.
He said at a press conference in Freetown yesterday that the exercise seeks to develop a comprehensive biometric membership database system for the first time and also provide high quality identification cards for teachers nationwide.”
The biometric registration started past Wednesday at the Ahmadiyya Agricultural Secondary School in Newton.
SLTU National President, Mohamed S. Bangura, said the organization has 35,000 members nationwide, and that the direct beneficiaries of the registration exercise include the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), banks, education stakeholders, the security sector and the general public.
“An exercise of this kind certainly benefits not only the Teachers Union but the nation at large,” said the SLTU prexy. “There is a general lack of reliable source of data on teachers in Sierra Leone. Valid and reliable statistics on teachers is essential for addressing all the teacher related problems and service delivery in education, including the ghost teacher syndrome.”
Mr. Bangura added that an authentic database would help to fast track the recovery of benefits for teachers who retire or die in service. “Reliable teacher data can also help the union for the purposes of negotiations on salaries and conditions of service with government,” he said.
Hawa Sesay, a teacher, commended the idea of setting up a database for all approved teachers, but urged the union executive to help more teachers secure approval from the Ministry of Education, especially those who have taught for years without being approved.