No end to teachers’ strike yet

No end to teachers’ strike yet

MASERU – TEACHERS say they will only teach for a week in a month and embark on a strike for the remaining three weeks in a fresh bid to push the government to bow to their demands.
This is according to the spokesman of the Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) Letsatsi Ntsibolane.
He spoke three days before Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro presented his budget to parliament on Tuesday.
The teachers are demanding an eight percent salary hike.

But in a blow to the teachers, Majoro announced during his budget speech that there will be no salary adjustment for civil servants this year.
“They said they cannot afford the eight percent (salary hike) and teachers said they will not do anything if not given that increment,” he said.
Ntsibolane said the strike will continue until ‘something’ materialises.
“We have not yet suspended our strike like our state media has said and we are just continuing as our schedule states,” he said.

The teachers said they would go for classes for three weeks and go back to classes for just a week.
He said the negotiations would decide the fate of their strike.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Cabinet subcommittee working on teachers’ grievances, Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane, last Friday urged the teachers to go back to work while their grievances are being addressed.
He made the appeal at a press conference attended by teachers’ associations last Friday.

‘Maseribane said the government acknowledges some of the teachers’ grievances and is keen to address some of the grievances with the teachers.
He said the teachers should present a proposal to the government on how it should deal with the salary issue and the career structure.

“The country is struggling financially but we are expecting that proposal today (Friday),” ‘Maseribane said.
Regarding the issue of implementation of the new curriculum, ‘Maseribane said the Ministry of Education should prepare workshops to equip teachers on how to implement the new programme.
He said the ministry is already distributing books to various schools as demanded by teachers.

“The agreement is that before the end of March this year all books should be distributed and a distribution list should be issued,” the minister said.

Chief ‘Maseribane said the ministry has to do community sensitisation and the new curriculum has culture and songs in it “so the ministry has to plead with Basotho to partake in radio Lesotho programmes such as Bu’a le matichere, Thuto ke leseli, Thuto ka ngollano and Hab’o Molepe, so that the students could learn”.
He said they understood that there are teachers who have not been paid their salary arrears so the agreement is that both the ministry and teachers should hand over a list of teachers who had been left behind when payments were done.

This according to the minister should be done by the end of this week.
Chief ‘Maseribane said on the issue of improving salaries for teachers who had improved their qualifications, a list of such teachers must be compiled and be forwarded to the ministry.
He said there were also about 24 teachers who had been recommended by the school boards but were rejected by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC).
“The ministry will write to the Cabinet so that decision is reached, it will be done jointly with all stakeholders,” the minister said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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