The development of every society begins with the teachers. It is them that mould and produce the society’s future leaders into responsible and academically sound people. Without them, the future would be uncertain.
However, despite this, they are the people that go through hell in their daily lives.
The other day the State Minister in charge of primary and secondary education was speaking on radio about the delays of teachers’ salaries and it dawned hard on me, that some of these salaries which accumulate to over four months are most times tied up at the district level.
Teachers earn so little compared to the work they do for the nation. This is mainly because the government doesn’t have enough money to increase the budget for the teachers.
But why should some mayor or who ever is concerned decide to hold the salary of a teacher up to that long.
Those responsible for disbursement of the salaries will give you all sorts of lame excuses on why this scenario keeps occurring every now and then.
But I don’t think there can ever be a reason enough to keep the teacher’s money for so long knowing well that a teacher does not have any other source of income apart from their profession.
How do you think this teacher is going to be able to stand in front of the young ones and teach them on an empty stomach?
Will he be able to dress decently to work if she or he hasn’t got the money he worked for? Will the teacher concentrate on her job when the land lord is on her neck?
All these are questions that every one who is responsible and handles the teachers’ money ought to ask themselves. You should also remember that by doing so, you are crippling the education of your own child if not of your relatives’ children.
If the Ministry plays its role and releases the money just in time to be of any good use to the owner, why can’t the people at the district level release the money early too?
I tried to talk to some district official and wanted to know what the real problem was. He told me that sometimes the delay is due to errors in the systems used in paying these salaries.
But even if that was the reason, how do those errors keep on recurring year after year?
Can’t these errors be corrected once and for all so that the teachers lead a normal life like any other citizen of our society?
I however don’t think it is a problem of errors in the systems, but it is lack of will to do the right thing by the concerned parties. A lot of effort is needed right from the starting point to the last person responsible.
We need to learn valuing each others lives if we want our society to continue developing at this rate, because if other sectors grow and others are left behind, it will not take us any further.
Lagging behind would not be good, most especially to the education sector on which all our development efforts are anchored.
Our nation does have a number of issues it needs to tackle so we can continue on the journey to sustainable development, and cannot afford to be pulled back by such minor issues as this which can be amicably solved by the people responsible.
As we pull all our efforts behind building classrooms for the nine year basic education programme, in order to get space for our children to study in the coming academic year, district officials should also start finding ways on how to solve the salary problem.
We should bear in mind that the quality education we are advocating for, day and night, can never be attained if the people who are critical in attaining it, are still facing these problems.
They deserve to get what they work for and on time.