We teachers have much to be thankful for in comparison to others in less fortunate places. I do not want to make light of the many troubles that DO plague our schools, for there are many, but in light of others, we should consider ourselves lucky. I am thankful for:
- the fact that our students don't have to go hungry while at school
- the air conditioning, heating and electricity
- the technology that we have available
- the support we get from social workers, nurses, and counselors
- the supplies and resources that are available at our schools.
I think many of our problems that plague our schools come from the fact that we are a society of plenty - plenty of too much, and not enough of "not enough" so we don't have to be resourceful.
Then I read the following, and give thanks, and pray for those in less fortunate places. Read on....
Teachers living in miseryBy Thabile Masuku
THEY live in one-roomed stick and mud houses, wake up everyday to face over 200 pupils on an empty stomach (literally) and toil hard for five days a week, all for nothing in return.
This is the story of four Etjebovu Primary School teachers who have not received their salaries since the beginning of the year. Two of them are on contract, the rest are temporary teachers.
What’s worse, there seems to be no end in sight in their fate. Several trips to the Ministry of Education have yielded no fruits, as they have been given endless excuses and promises. Sometimes they are promised that they would be paid the following month, on other occasions told there are no post numbers and at times that their names do not appear in the registration list.
As a last resort, they have turned to the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) to ask it to approach the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) on their behalf, hopefully with the view of coming up with a tangible solution. “We met SNAT last week and are still awaiting a response,” said one of the aggrieved teachers.
The head teacher of the school, Cyril Motsa, perhaps tells a better version of his staff’s plight. After all, he is the one who feels the pinch of heading a highly demoralised staff and faces the challenge of motivating them with the little resources generated through the school’s limited enrolment. There are eight teachers in the school, which means only four are able to concentrate fully on their job.
“The situation is bad. I can’t imagine how those teachers feel. Just this morning (yesterday) they came to me about their issue. I have reached a point where I don’t know what to say to them. It really is a sad situation and one wonders why they are being punished like this,” said Motsa.
He added that the situation highly affected the teachers’ performance, thus having a major impact on the pupils.
“The sad thing is that no one claims responsibility when we produce a high number of failures. Government won’t admit that she is at fault. This is a serious concern,” he stated.
He further indicated that his school further had a problem of infrastructure; hence they did not have staff quarters. This is the reason they have to find alternative accommodation for the teachers, despite that there are no resources.
“The rooms we live in are so small and unfit for human occupation. As a result of their size, we have no choice but to forsake our families and live on our own. But thanks to our head teacher, who is trying everything he can to make living a bit bearable for us,” said the aggrieved teacher.
She said they now banked their hopes on SNAT, which would hopefully negotiate on their behalf, successfully.
“Meanwhile, we only have to wait and see. It’s like praying for a miracle,” the teacher said.
Education Principal Secretary Goodman Kunene promised to look into the issue and find out what may be delaying payment of the teachers.
Image from http://www.trinitybeth.org/swaziland/day6.htm