25th October 2020
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S Sudanese teachers doing manual jobs to survive

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Monday, October 5, 2020

File: Teachers in Jonglei in a past protest over delayed payment of salaries and other arrears. /Courtesy

Some teachers have decried what they “call low pay and poor working conditions” as South Sudan marks the international teacher’s day.

This year is marked under the theme “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimaging the future”.

In South Sudan, teaching is deemed to be one of the least paying jobs.

Some teachers have complained of deplorable conditions, saying they are paid less than $5 per month as salary.

Public school teachers stay four to six months without salary, and when they do, they are paid a month’s worth of arrears.

Despite the current economic situation in the country, the government has not adjusted teachers’ salaries, with the Education sector allocated just 6% of the national budget in 2019/2020.

This indicates a 4% decrease from the previous year’s fiscal year budget.

These conditions have forced the majority of the teaching professionals to abandoned their posts and joined non-governmental organizations.

“I can tell you since the beginning of coronavirus pandemic, we have not received our salaries,” said Jimmy Kata, a teacher at Bishop Abani College of Science and Technology in Yambio, Western Equatoria State.

Others have resorted to riding boda-boda, taxis, and other manual labor to make ends meet.

“We also need to survive…some of us are now turning towards the private sectors rather than going back to teaching,” Mr. Kata added.

Moses Wani, a teacher in Juba said they can hardly afford transport fares to school.

He stated that he is only entitled to 1,600 South Sudanese Pounds -about $5 -every month.

“The salary off a teacher in Grade 14…and the market price is very high,” he explained, “In every financial year there is no increment in teacher’s salary, teachers are suffering, even we can’t afford transport, teachers conditions are so bad.”

Mr. Ibrahim Charles, the Secretary-General of the Steering Committee of the Teachers Union affirmed that teachers are working in pitiful condition.

“Formally they used to teach in a school and also do part-time in other schools and they were able to earn a living,” he said, “But since the emergency of the COVID-19…how do they feed their families?”

“The government must look in to the suffering of teachers.”

Mr.Ibrahim recommends that government adjusts teacher’s salary to the current market price to attract more to the profession.

The World Teachers’ Day is marked annually on October 5, since 1994 to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO recommendation concerning the status of teachers.

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