I write in solidarity with the teachers for change as per their request for a better education sector. Our teachers were the educators who give us knowledge of the world around us and changes it into something for a better society we all want to live in. Still advances us a viewpoint of looking at life and helps us build opinions and have points of view on things in life and the surrounding.
The last time I checked education is widely regarded as essential to economic growth, national development and overall prosperity. In The Gambia, education is valued very highly and theoretically given a high priority. Strangely enough, however, the teachers responsible for educating Gambia’s children are not valued that highly as expected compared to other jobs. Considering the rapid increase in goods and services, you would think that teachers would be among the highest paid professionals. Yet teachers are compensated unreasonably to their advanced education levels and are disrespected by many people.
If the salary for teachers were higher, then more people would want to join the profession. With more competition for teaching, the best people would be the ones who are ultimately to be hired. With better teachers at schools, more students would hopefully connect with what they are learning and want to go on to a higher education. With more education, graduates from the University of The Gambia would be better prepared to go out as far beyond Bollibanna.
I remember when my teacher once asked me what I want to be in the future. I replied Teacher, he shouted at me “not to pray for that”. And informed me that teachers are the least paid in which they struggle with their salaries to make a leaving as they normally rely on bank overdraft. After a lot of thought, it’s obvious to me that my education would be much better if my teachers felt valued. It seems as though many teachers are asked to do more every year for the same salary or sometimes with a pay cut.
Many teachers have not been noiseless about their reasons for abandoning the profession, low morale and low pay. Yet the state’s response has not been enough to end the ongoing crisis of teachers in schools. The job of recruiting and retaining qualified teachers especially in the rural areas becomes more difficult without wiggle room for bonuses and high pay.
Motivated teachers can lead to increased productivity and allow a school to achieve higher levels of output. It is high time for the Barrow led administration to consider the demands of the teachers. Since the majority of teachers quit the teaching field unwilling because of the harsh and stressful conditions.
Saidina Alieu Jarjou