Delay in teachers’ salaries sparks unrest in Liberia


University teachers in the West African country of Liberia on Thursday joined strike with school teachers, over delay in the payment of their salaries, the New Dawn Liberia news website reported.

For over a week, teaching in the government schools has remained suspended in and around capital Monrovia, according to a report published by the Report Focus News website.

The news websites claimed that the teachers of the Capitol Hill and Fendall campuses of the University of Liberia have decided to slow down their work, in order to press for the release of their salaries and other benefits.

On Tuesday thousands of high school students affected by the strike of their teachers took to streets and gathered in front of President George Weah’s office, to drawn his attention towards suspension of classwork by teachers.

The news website reported that President’s indifference to their demands drew anger from students and teachers. They said his convoy drove past the protesting students without attending to them.

Police also used force and teargas shells to disperse protesting students, leaving many of them injured, the website reported.

“They do not want to pay our teachers and if they do not pay our teachers we will remain on the streets,” the news report quoted, Peter Tokpah, a student from the William V.S. Tubman High School.

The Ministry of Finance and Development has said that it has already released salaries for some 15,000 teachers for August for the teachers employed in Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), providing primary and secondary education in the capital Monrovia metropolitan area. “We are currently processing to pay them for the month of September,” said Liberia news website, quoting government officials.

Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, Liberia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, largely due to the civil war that raged the country from 1989-96.

According to the World Bank, the Liberia’s economy is projected to contract by 1.4% in 2019. “The overall fiscal deficit of the central government widened from 4.1% of GDP in 2017 to 4.8% of GDP in 2018 and further to an estimated 6.2% in 2019, reflecting low domestic revenue mobilization and high public spending,” said the World Bank overview.
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