When Usaz Michael Khamis woke up one June morning, he thought it would just be like any other day of work. Little did he know he would wake up from a different bed – a hospital bed.
As usual, he readied himself and walked to school where he started teaching his class at a Juba secondary school.
Though he knew there was something wrong with him, resilience and endurance kept him going. Unfortunately, he broke down in front of his students while teaching. The learners thought he was ill.
Thus, they rushed him to the hospital. After a thorough checkup, a doctor surprisingly told the youngsters that he was not ill “but starving”.
Mr Khamis later professed that in deed he had spent days without eating anything because he did not any money to buy foodstuffs for his family.
As a result, the commiserative schoolchildren decided to help out their teacher by contributing money.
“The students contributed 1,500 in order to rescue the teacher,” Bonfilio Tong’un Alphonse, teachers’ representative, told The Eye. “For us as colleagues of that teacher, we were not able to do anything.”
Mr Khamis last received his salary in March. A grade 14 teacher gets about 325 pounds, an amount equivalent to $6.5 at the current black market rate.
According to teachers Jubek State who have not been paid their salaries for 2 months now, Ustaz Khamis’ situation describes what every teacher is going through currently.
They said they may go on strike this week if the state ministry of education does not resolve their demand for payment of two months salaries and improvement of their working conditions.
“It’s really a critical situation where teachers are now in. They are not able at least to go somewhere…or to friends to get loan,” Mr Tong’un added.
This comes after a series of meeting with the Minister of Education, Dr Wani Sule, over a plan to go on strike if their complaints are not addressed.
In a memo, they demanded for unpaid salaries of two months, pay rise and house allowances.
Meanwhile, the state minister of Education, Dr Wani Sule Lado, said “there is nothing we can do” at the moment, adding that the salary issue is a general problem affecting all civil servants.
“But we hope the government with the institutions are concern with this issue really response to this,” Dr Sule told the media after meeting the delegation of the teachers’ professional union.
The other demands include pay rise, issuance of ID cards for the teachers, and hardship allowances.
(Editor’s note: The name of the teacher has been changed for privacy reasons)
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