By Alhagie Babou Jallow
The 2015/2016 graduates of the Gambia College, under the Secretariat of Arabic and Islamic Education (AMANA) recently called a press conference to draw attention to their plight, claiming that they have not been paid since they graduated ten months ago.
Abdoukadir Camara, who spoke on behalf of the 96 (PTC) Arabic teachers (Oustasses) revealed that they have written to the relevant authorities, example the Ministry of basic and secondary education about their plight but that has not yielded any fruits. “Now we are even faced with a dilemma of going to our new postings without a penny, not to talk about our families left behind,” he lamented.
Saikou Manjang, another unpaid Oustass said the matter has now grown to be an unacceptable humanitarian issue which cannot be ignored any more.
The head of AMANA Essa Darboe, when contacted confirmed that the annual subvention from government to AMANA for the salaries of the 2016 batch of trained Madrassa teachers is still pending.’
“Every October upon graduation of a batch from the college, AMANA submits the names of the teachers to government which gives a subvention for their salaries. We did the same for the 2016 batch too but before the subvention was due normally in January, the political change occurred and the Ministry has informed us that all government subventions to all institutions, not only AMANA, have been put on hold until the financial situation improves. But we have got information that the 2016 batch are in the system and they will be paid as soon as the budget of 2017 is released,” Mr Darbo said.
He further said that another cohort of teachers—the 2017 batch—has also graduated and they too will be catered for as soon as the outstanding 2016 one is dealt with. Mr Darboe disclosed that AMANA is very much grateful to government because the teachers concern are teaching at private madrassas.
“Some of these schools had complained that they could not pay the qualified teachers salary and that’s why government intervened to pay their salaries through subvention given to AMANA,” Darboe said.