Teachers cry for help: ‘We’ve not been reassessed for years now’


October 6, 2015 By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)

As we celebrate World Teachers Day (5th October) many teachers across Sierra Leone are appealing to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to reassess and upgrade them without further delay as they’ve been teaching for years now on the same salary scale.

These are mainly teachers who have completed further studies and continued in the classroom.

Alhassan Mansaray is a Mathematics teacher at St. Francis Secondary School, Makeni. He claims to have taught for over five years now after so many verifications, but his salary scale is yet to be reassessed.

“It is very painful and disappointing when we see our college mates and even our former students with whom we have the same qualifications being paid more than us,” he lamented.

Like many other teachers in his category, Alhassan had hoped that his reassessment would have been completed before the 15% salary increment came into effect in July 2015, but unfortunately no.

“I am not a ghost teacher. I am receiving Le566, 000 instead of Le821, 000. This is stressful and disappointing situation for me as I have a family to take care of, including the education of my children,” he explained, adding that such under payment is affecting his NASSIT contribution which is his only hope at the end of service.

Also in the reassessment struggle are teachers who have gained promotion from the Ministry of Education via their schools, for example- heads of department or senior teachers. According to these teachers, their salaries should automatically be increased to match their new levels.

One affected teacher in this category in Freetown, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal, claims he was promoted by the Ministry to the rank of Senior Teacher (with documents to the effect) in 2011 “in which my reassessment salary and new grade were stated and approved by the Minister of Education, but up till now it has not been imputed in the ministry’s voucher”.

There is also a category of teachers referred to as ‘recruits’, who have been teaching for years now without pay and who have submitted their educational qualifications to the ministry via their respective schools for approval. They expect to be given pin codes and their names entered into the pay roll voucher of the ministry.

And there is another category of ‘reassessment teachers’; meaning approved teachers with pin codes (the moment you have a pin code it means you have been approved and will be paid monthly by the ministry), who, after their first degrees or HTC, left on study leave formally/informally and have returned with high education certificates or post graduate diplomas in Education. Teachers who fall in this category should have their salaries increased to their qualifications scale called grades; either grade 7, 8 or 9, based on their qualifications.

However, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education, Brima Micheal Turay, said the ministry will soon embark on a country-wide recruitment drive and reassessment will be conducted immediately after that. He revealed that the ministry has requested all schools across the country to submit their recruitment lists in that regard.

“The recruitment process is very tedious and has to be done carefully, lest we recruit the wrong teachers. For those teachers who are already teaching, the reassessment will be simple; it’s just a matter of verifying and then upgrade them to their deserved levels,” said Brima.

Similarly, the Chief Education Officer of the ministry, Dr. Alhaji Mohamed Kamara, said they are following the due process strictly.

“Reassessment is a process. Recruitment is a process. And we have to follow the laid down procedures. We’ve had many cases before of teachers submitting documents that were later proved to be fake. Based on that experience, we are now checking thoroughly before we recruit and reassess,” said Dr. Kamara.

Meanwhile, as the world observes teachers’ day, Alhassan can only pray that the process starts and ends as soon as possible.