Since Monday last, children have been going to school and leaving empty handed [or empty headed to be more precise] because their teachers are on a sit-down strike. A large segment of the teachers in the Gambia is demanding a range of issues from government before they go back into the classroom. Their demands range from pay rise to hardship allowance, timely payment of salaries and so on.
These teacher protestors claim that they have contacted the Gambia Teachers’ Union to raise these concerns to the relevant authorities in the government. The GTU is claiming that they have taken the concerns of the teachers to the ministry but that negotiations are ongoing.
This looks like a communication gap which is being manifested as a strike. The strike is harming and affecting Gambian children as they are losing a lot of contact hours. There are children who are in grade nine and twelve who are supposed to write their external exams this year. This will certainly affect them and may cause the rate of failure to increase.
The government should have acted more swiftly to avoid the standoff reaching this stage. Children not going to school, or not receiving the education they need and deserve, is a disaster of huge proportion. No government should ever allow this type of thing to happen if they could have been avoided by simply entering into dialogue to resolve the issue.
There has been a serious breach in communication and whoever is responsible simply ignored the fact that the problem could reach a stage where the teachers would sit at home and not go to school. They should have taken prompt action and engage the aggrieved party in dialogue.
This situation needs to be addressed as soon as possible so that the teachers can go back into the classroom before a permanent damage is caused.