Yei teachers decry challenges in profession

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[Yei, South Sudan, TCT] Despite the celebration of World Teachers Day on October 5, teachers in Central Equatoria state’s Yei River County have expressed a dilemma over the untold endurance they hold onto in the teaching profession.

Yei River County in South Sudan celebrated the world teachers’ day on October 8th under the theme “empowering teachers, building sustainable societies”.

Its celebration was postponed from 5th to 8th due to lack of funds and unpreparedness, reported an official who was part of the organizing committee.

Over 61, 000 learners are studying in public nursery, primary and secondary schools in Yei county, but few teachers coupled with unsatisfactory support could not enable them offer enough teaching to the learners.

Lack of professional trainings, low and delayed salaries, and harassment, are all challenges, said Yusto Dada, the chairperson of Teachers Professional Union said on Thursday.

“There is need of more educational support because Yei is currently holding children of ten states. Teachers should therefore be well motivated, morally, physically and socially to improve the working conditions and enhance sustainable societies”, Dada said at the Teachers Day celebrations.  Yusto called on the government and partners to join efforts to uplift the quality of educational services in the county.

According to estimates by the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics, countries will need to recruit 12.6 million primary teachers to achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2020.

The principle of Yei Teachers Training College, Kepo James, warned that without meeting the needs of teachers, including payment, the entire education system would deteriorate.

Teachers are great people who should not be undermined. Failure to meet our respective obligation will result in the failure of our entire education system”, Kepo warned. “Our government should listen to the cry of our teachers and together, let us work to develop education in our country”, he added.

Emmanuel Sebit, who is government inspector of secondary school in the county, said the many challenges teachers face have contributed to daily, weekly and monthly desertion of the profession. “Imagine somebody is paid 200 pounds. This one is no money and yet this person has got family, relatives children and so many obligations”, he argued.

The inspector attributed low improvement of education sector to taking children abroad for studies by highly salaried government officials and lack of moral from government officials to schools. He said “It is useless to send our children to go and study in another country while we neglect our education system”.

By so doing, he said many become expatriates and will care less about teachers’ empowerment and improving the education quality, adding that 2013 downsizing of teachers without replacement have left many schools in a dilapidated teaching level.

“I started working here; I have not seen a government officer may be going to one of the schools and say to the teachers, thank you! I have not seen this. Our intentions are very far”, he observed.

While responding to the pleas, Yei municipal town clerk, Michael Modi Apollo, pledged his willingness to take the cries to the concerned authorities for actions and encouraged teachers to keep up working in their profession. “These things are taken into considerations and I will take them to my boss. And I will not promise anything to you”, he added. 

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