School teachers strike over low pay

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Mohalenyane Phakela

PARENTS of students learning at Maseru International School have threatened to transfer their children to other schools after they were shocked to learn of the poor salaries paid to the teachers who recently went on strike.

One of the parents who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Lesotho Times that many parents could not understand why the school was paying teachers so little (amounts disclosed but could not be immediately verified) when parents were forking out close to M15 000 per year in school fees.

The primary school which is situated in Maseru West has about 300 learners and close to 30 teachers.

Earlier this week, the school management sent an email to parents informing them of the suspension of classes from 11-13 October due to the teachers’ strike.

Part of the email read: “This is to inform you that the teachers at the school have embarked on an industrial strike demanding a salary increase of between 40-60 percent with immediate effect.

“The board and management are engaging the staff to amicably resolve the situation. In the meantime, we have resolved to temporarily close the school from 11-13 October. As you are aware, the mid-term break from the 16-20 October will not be affected. This means the school will close three days before the mid-term break.”

Some parents fumed saying letting issues that did not concern their children affect their education was unacceptable.

Another parent said it was shocking to learn that teachers at the school earned far less than teachers in public schools that provide free education.

“The school should prioritise this matter so that our children can return to school. We do not take lightly to issues that may compromise our children’s education. Disgruntled teachers don’t deliver good results,” the parent said.

One of the teachers at the school confirmed they have been engaging with the school management for the past three weeks over the salary issue.

“We were told that the board will decide on the matter, which is not true because we know there is no board,” the teacher said.

Efforts to get a comment from the school authorities were fruitless.

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