By Deng David Panchol
Public teachers in both primary and secondary schools in Jonglei State Capital, Bor have laid down their tools over the failure by the government to pay them in new salary scale.
The teachers said that they can only resume teaching if the government pays them based on the new salary structure.
They stated that the old salary structure cannot support their living standard due to economic crisis in the country.
Ruben Matiop the leader of Jonglei Teacher’ Union said public school teachers have suffered due to low payment as they can no longer afford basic needs.
“Today, we declared that we cannot go to classes when this right of ours is not fulfilled. So, I would like to inform our government that we teachers in the entire South Sudan, we have really suffered. And this time if you don’t want to see our condition, the condition by itself will expose us at least to die on the road instead in our houses.” Matiop stated.
Deng David a teacher in Bor Secondary School said they demand to the paid their salaries based on the new salary scale.
Deng cried out that the living condition of teachers in the country is very difficult and should be addressed by the government.
“Our major issue as teachers currently is that we have blocked all payments because we expected a number of people to increase our salary and in the salary increment we mean about of 250 million SSP which was said by minister of labor and public service when he made the address at the national parliament during his visit to Bor with Vice President for service cluster and he said this amount of money must be given to teacher in Jonglei State.” David said.
“It is very bad for the teachers because the living condition is very high, however, we teachers do endure and do our duties. We teach here hoping that the government is going to increase our money. However, when they try to increase the money, the money just disappears on the way before it could reach us (teachers)” he continued.
Deng lamented that public teachers are resorting to teaching in private schools because of the low payment in public schools.
Yuang Arok Duk another teacher from Bor Secondary School said most teachers are receiving 15,000-20,000 South Sudanese Pounds which cannot support their living.
“You know very well as we talk, the condition of teachers is not very well. This money cannot even buy a sack of beans, so it is not good for the teachers to actually continue with teaching because when they continue teaching, it is very hard for them to facilitate their families with this amount of money,” he said.
“I don’t know whether people know it countrywide, or the national government is aware of this condition so teachers generally have a lot of things to discuss but it is only this point where they are talking about but their general situation is very poor. When people talk about free education, there is not free education. Frees education can only be there when teachers are paid very well, when they are always at school and when the government meet their demand.” Arok mentioned.
Arok pointed out that despite delivering lessons to learners, public teachers are still not paid very well by the government.
Meanwhile Gabriel Deng Ajak, Jonglei State Minister of General Education and Instructions urged teachers to be patient and receive their salaries based on the old salary scale.
He said that his ministry dialogued with the frustrated teachers and everything was back to normalcy.
Ajak promised that public teachers would benefit once the new salary scale is implemented by the government.