Monrovia - Paynesville - Teachers at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) on Thursday, November 23, stormed the campus in demand of their five-month salary arrears owed them by the administration.
According to the aggrieved teachers, since July of this year, the administration of the MVTC has not been able to pay them, despite the many communications written to the hierarchy of the school requesting for their salaries. They threatened to shut down the school if their concern is not addressed.
“We have been very patient; we channeled our grievances first through the director of the MVTC but it has reached a point that he could not handle it. We formally wrote a letter to the HR of the Ministry of Youth and Sports that is responsible for MVTC. We wrote the letter and affixed our signatures to it and waited for another two months but there was no redress,” Henry K. Nyandibo, an aggrieved teacher, said.
Speaking to FrontPage Africa, Mr. Nyandibo, an Instructor in the Mechanical Department said: “We went to the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) as instructors and met the Deputy Minister of Administration (DMA) of the Ministry. She assured us that in a week’s time, we were going to receive our four-month pay then, but we waited until we have entered the fifth month.”
He continued: “Some of us are in clubs (financial clubs). We went to these clubs and took money from there for our children school fees and other things, next month the clubs will be dividing the money up to now no hope with the kind of desperate situation we are in,” he said.
Nyandibo noted: “Our demand is for the school to pay our five-month salary now and secondly to review our contract sheets because our status in this school by documents is volunteer/ contractors with the payment plan of US$75,150, on the relationship with school.
The contracts, we signed is a trash and we want it to be reviewed in our presence by a legal counselor. If our demands are not met absolutely there will be no school in MVTC because we will not enter in class to teach,” he averred.
Joseph F. Allie, another instructor said the conditions of teaching staff at the MVTC is demeaning, lamenting that the profession has been denigrated in a manner that those who practice the profession are looked down upon and are not regarded as professional people.
“The ethics of a teacher is not to take money from students. We cannot be in front of the chalk boards teaching the students with our mind traumatized, worrying about our homes, about what our family will eat. So we have planned not to teach until our salaries are paid,” he stressed.
Andrew I. Kollon said if nothing is done by the school’s authority to pay their salaries, they will continue the protest until their salaries are paid.
“Our decision now is to close the school through peaceful protest until they can pay us our salaries. We will shut down this school until the national government can intervene in this case and in fact the school will be down until they can pay us our five-month salary,” he said.
Yamah A. Sumoku said there have been several engagements with the administration of the school and the MYS but efforts to address their plights have not materialized.
“We had several meetings, and we been sending letters to our heads, at the Ministry and whosoever we felt that could help us solve this problem but to no avail. If I don’t receive my pay I would teach because I need to be in a right frame of mind to teach,” she added.
For his part, the vice President of the Student Council Government, Henry S. Corneh, said he is disappointed over the behavior of the administration, lamenting that the institution policy has been mixed with politics and as such the school has begun a political ground.
“I am very disappointed. We intervened as students’ council and talked to the director, we even went to the Ministry and talked to the Minister, but mixing up politics with trade, you will get negative result. We are technocrats, we are not politicians. We paid our hard earned money to come and learn and then the school wants to make mockery out of us,”
He continued: “We want to call on the President to intervene in this situation to resolve the problem of our teachers’ salary so we can continue our education. We also want to call on the President, until MVTC is separated from the MYS, we will not do anything good because we have politicians at the Ministry, who only focus on their political activities and forgetting about us,” he added.
Corneh declared: “As the students’ council leadership, we will put stop to the entrance that will be administered here on Saturday until our teachers’ plight can be met. Furthermore, I gave the administration of the MVTC an ultimatum from this moment to Friday, if the issue cannot be resolved, I will lead a peaceful protest on Monday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand the resignation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports minister,” he averred.
In response to the protest, the Director of MVTC, Wilfred S.K Payne, admitted owing the teachers’ salary but urged the aggrieved parties (students and teachers) to remain kind as the administration is working to resolve the situation in a matter of week.