Liberia: Catholic School Crisis Education Minister Sonii Calls On Teachers To Abandon Protest

Education Minister Dr. Ansu Sonii

Monrovia – Educational Minister Ansu Sonii has called for calm in ongoing go-slow action by aggrieved Catholic school teachers across Liberia over low incentives.

Report by Willie N. Tokpah / 00231777039231 ([email protected])

Minister Sonii told the aggrieved teachers during a meeting held at the St. Michael Catholic School in Gardnerville on Monday that the plight of teachers to advocate for better incentives is important but it should not affect the learning process of students.

“I taught in the classroom for many years and I am a teacher. Your plight is important but it should not affect the education of the students,” Minister Sonii said.

“You were a parent before becoming a teacher, so know that your action could equally affect students, but we are working on that to make you satisfy.”

Since Monday, February 25, 2019, Catholic School Teachers have been on a go-slow, calling for increment in their salary. This had paralyzed learning activities at all Catholic institutions.

The teachers have also complained about the lack of other benefits from the Catholic Education Secretariat.

The teachers, under the banner Association of Catholic Teachers (ACTS), want additional LD$5,000 increment and have vowed to continue their go-slow until the Catholic Education Secretariat adheres to their plight.

They are also recommending to the secretariat, the reduction in registration fees of ward students from LD$14,000 to LD$3,000.

According to ACTS, these changes will help minimize the hardship currently being experienced by teachers.

Alphonso Nimely, president of ACTS, told FrontPageAfrica that it was unfortunate that students pay huge fees for enrolling at Catholic schools while teachers are making less.

“The decision by ACTS is predicated upon the Catholic Education Secretariat outright refusal to ensure that teachers and support staffs wellbeing is given paramount attention and collective bargaining in spite of all peaceful approaches and intervention,” Nimely said.

Mr. Nimely noted that the money catholic school teachers and support staffs are receiving cannot commensurate with prevailing economic hardship in the country and as such it must be increased.

“In view of the above, all teachers and support staffs of the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia are hereby requested not to take instruction from the administration,” Mr Nimely noted.

The go-slow action has also raised concern among Catholic School students, forcing them to also stage a peaceful protest at the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia recently.

But Minister Sonii, who tried to mitigate the crisis, said that it was the first time for teachers of Catholic schools to stage a protest.

This raises serious concern to Liberia’s educational system, he said.

However, Minister Sonii said negotiation is being held with the authority of the Catholic Education Secretariat to ensure that the plight of teachers is addressed soon.

The Education Minister, at the same time, called on the aggrieved Catholic school teachers to revert to normal classroom activities while the Ministry engages Secretariat constructively. 

“If you don’t get any result from us up to Friday (March 8, 2019 then you should not take our words seriously,” Minister Sonii stressed.

He, at the same time, cautioned the teachers against taking another decision that is contrary to their previous request.