March 16, 2020
By Mohamed Sesay
Aligned with President Bio’s vision to upgrade and address the welfare of teachers across the country, the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) under the watch of Dr. Staneala M. Beckley as chairperson has recruited more than 6,683 teachers in less than two years.
Dr. Beckley told Concord Times that for more than a decade now teachers haven’t been recruited and that they have placed the said amount of teachers on a payroll and on their right salary scale, awaiting the Ministry of Finance to disburse the necessary funds.
She continued the Commission has been addressing records that were inherited from the Ministry of Education since 2002 on matters relating to re-assessment of teachers from one level to another, with the view to ensuring that deserving teachers claim their rightful salary increments.
“After we have done with a comprehensive documentations of teachers re-assessment requests, we handover the documents to the Finance Ministry informing them about teachers that have been re-assessed. This is how much they should be paid, and this is the difference the government should pay. We cannot go beyond our limit because we are not the ones that disburse funds. We have done all the ground work for teachers to be happy but the Ministry of Finance is yet to honour our request. And you cannot blame the government because the wage bill is so huge. Everyday teachers storm our office on different purposes and we are really sympathizing with their situation,’ said Dr.Beckley.
In an effort to combat the massive frauds and the issue of ghost teachers on the teaching payroll, Dr. Beckley said the Commission would work in collaboration with the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI), to digitize the entire process of teachers’ re-assessment and recruitment.
She continued that for teachers to receive their retirement package on the same salary scale, they have to be on the payroll for three years before they retire in order for them to be paid on that same salary scale.
Dr.Beckley further stated that the Commission had one thousand nine hundred and one (1901) applications for teachers that were reassessed in 2018, reiterating that due to the huge government wage bill, the Ministry of Finance through the Accountant General’s office would put a defense of not increasing salary for a teacher because of position or added academic qualifications.
She emphasised on the fraudulent activities of teachers, stating that four hundred and forty-five (445) teachers who applied for recruitment were having mismatches in their documentations.
She said teachers would go to the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) with different date of birth, to NASSIT with a different Date of Birth and also go to TSC with a different date of birth.
‘These are some of the teachers that would go to the press and complain. As you can see we go through serious headache here.This is one of the busiest institutions in Sierra Leone because every department is working hard to ensure that things are worked out for teachers. Imagine I have to sacrifice my sleep at night just to sign documentations for teachers and some I have to call them on the spot to cross check certain information,” she said.
She said that the Commission had one thousand four hundred ‘fake’ teachers, who could not show up for verification when called upon because certainly their documents are not correct.
Meanwhile, some aggrieved teachers, who were promoted to senior positions since 2018, and yet to get their salaries reassessed, had told Concord Times that the Teaching Service Commission was not effectively championing their course.
But the Executive Chairperson remarked that, ‘My brother, we have done all documentation tracing back from 2002 to date but what do you think we can do if government says there is no money? You know the current economic situation and the Government wage bill. We are receiving variety of cases here, ranging from the payment of terminal benefit to the reassessment of salaries for teachers that were promoted to senior positions. It is really in place that promotion should go with reassessment of salaries and that we are fighting for.”
She called on teachers to exercise patience as the commission is working round the clock to ensure that their issues are well addressed.
Dr.Beckley said the commission is currently embarking on attendance verification to ascertain teachers that are really dedicated to their job and those that are not.
‘We are doing this to generate more revenue so that deserving teachers can be paid well. The health sector did the same and they generated huge revenue for government,’ she said.