GAMBIA: TEACHERS FOR CHANGE (TFC) TO AMALGAMATE WITH THE NETWORK OF MISSION TEACHERS (NOMT)

TFC representative attends a meeting organized by the Network of mission teachers to work out a formula to ensure that the two associations amalgamate.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Teachers for Change as well as the executives and members of the Network of Mission teachers. Different ideas and contributions came from both the TFC and NOMT.

Individual prayers were observed to start the meeting. “For if we insist on pursuing our personal goals without putting collective objectives and responsibilities in mind, then indeed we shall be divided and divide and we shall fall” the secretary general of the mission teachers’ association begins his deliberation.

He introduces taskforces of both bodies and express delight for such gathering. “Government teachers are slapped once but we (mission teachers) are slapped twice”. He demonstrated. The chairperson of the network of mission teachers also expressed delight for the gathering. “I and my executives are ready to amalgamate with the Teachers for Change. We want to work together to see that the teachers are respected”. The chairperson went further and expressed his dissatisfaction with the GTU and SESCO. “We have been deducted for savings for four months and the money deducted from us is not going into our accounts. We want to know where that money is.” Mr. Manga encouraged teachers to stand firm and demand for what is rightfully theirs. He advised teachers to be brave and face realities in the system. “Let us be strong and fight for what is rightfully ours.

Mr. Father was a farmer and he was able to pay my school so if I anyone decides to stop my salary because I am claiming what belongs to me, then I can return to my father’s profession”. Similar contributions came from members.

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Mr. Alhassan Ceesay took up the floor and expressed delight for such gathering. “It’s a pleasure to be here. I think the problems explained here are the problems the needs to be solved.” Mr. Ceesay express explained a variety of issues that needs to be in place in the teaching profession. “If teachers around the world can unite and fight a common course, then it’s easy for teachers of the Gambia to unite and demand what is rightfully ours because Gambia is relatively small and we can filter the truth to every teacher for the length and breadth of the country”. Mr. Ceesay urged members to be brave and face the realities. “fear is our enemy so we should let it go”. He said.

Another speaker form the audience took up the floor and deliberated on a variety of issues concerning teachers. “in fact why should teachers fear? I will never fear if someone wants to stop my salary. I am a teacher but I never depend on my salary because it cannot sustain me. I have a wheelbarrow and after school, I go round the market selling goods and what I earn from that is far ahead of my salary. I think the coming strike will be an opportunity for me to work on my business because I will be busy in the market.”

The secretary General of the TFC taskforce took up the floor and express pleasure in having such gathering. “I am delighted to be here and looking at this gathering, you can all acknowledge that we are all one because I can see some of my classmates at the college here and they are now in mission school”. Mr. Jallow expressed the need for unity and assured members that all the problems highlighted can be solved if teachers are ready to stand for themselves. “The issue of mission or government teacher should be a thing of the past.

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I believe that what is needed for a mission teacher to deliver well is what is needed for a government teacher to deliver as well”. Mr. Jallow urged members to fully observe the September strike “to tell you the fact, the strike is not our choice. It’s a final option and we have no other choice. I want to assure all of you that the upcoming strike will be history and I have no doubt that never will authorities underestimate the efforts of teachers in national development after this. This will be the most effective sit-down strike that ever happened in this country” He said. Similar suggestions and contribution came from audience.

For his part, the assistant secretary General of the TFC taskforce challenge teachers to be architects of their destiny. He urged teachers to take up the responsibility of demanding what is rightfully theirs. “We will make sure that the TFC taskforce amalgamates with the Network of, mission teachers and work hard to ensure that teachers are respected”.

He said. Mr. York urged mission teachers to establish school reps similar to the TFC school committee reps “we have reps in every school in the Gambia and these reps are helping us to mobilize teachers and to filter information to the last person.”

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The secretary General of the taskforce Mr. Jallow took up the stage once again to discuss the modalities of the amalgamation. “From here, a WhatsApp group will be created that will consist of TFC taskforce and NOMT executives and we will work hand in gloves to ensure that we have a unanimous move”. Mr. Jallow explained a variety of steps that both executives will take to ensure that success is achieved. He urged teachers to be strong and ignore all threats and provocations coming from opponents. “We do not expect everyone to support our move. We must have people working against us so that we can be able to measure the success of our struggle. People have different opinions and as people fighting for change, we should be strengthen by those opposing opinions and focus on our struggle.” He said.

Senior teachers present at the meeting expressed their support for the move. One of them was quoted as saying that “I am a man under authority and a man with authority. I want to assure you that many are loyal to your struggle but they are afraid to lose their positions. I have only five more years to serve after which I will retire because I am already 55 years old and I know how the system is”.

What transpire at this meeting gave a clear indication that teachers really need change and they are ready for the change.

Abdoulie Jallow

Secretary General

TFC Taskforce

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