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Teachers take aim at World Bank

After the back and forth that Lesotho teachers experienced with the government of Lesotho in 2019, even suspending classes for months, teachers are still fighting the ministry of education and training to this day.

They are now frustrated that the government has still not released that salary structure in the form of a gazette. They have taken it upon themselves to now seek intervention from international organisations like Unesco and the World Bank.

In a letter addressed to the World Bank dated January 17 and signed by the Lesotho Teachers’ Trade Union and Lesotho Association of Teachers, the educators expressed concern at what they called ‘the Bank’s disapproval of the implementation of the government of Lesotho’s new salary structure for teachers’.

The letter indicates that the World Bank knows that the unions have been negotiating with the ministry of education and training in September and October 2019 to end several months of strikes and unrest among teachers in Lesotho schools.

It further stated that after long and difficult negotiations, unions have reached an important agreement to progress education in Lesotho. It stated that part of the agreement is a new salary structure for teachers, which when fully implemented, will result in the first salary raise of teachers in Lesotho in a decade.

“When the new salary structure for teachers was passed in the Parliament of Lesotho in October 2019, it was celebrated in all schools of Lesotho. Under those circumstances, it was with disappointment and disbelief that we received the news from the ministry of education and training that the World Bank had blocked the implementation of the new salary structure.

“For us, as the legitimate representatives of all teachers in Lesotho, negotiating on their behalf, we expect that our employer, the government of Lesotho, would be able to enter into agreements with us independently of international institutions like World Bank. Furthermore, as citizens of Lesotho, we also expect that any decision made by the parliament of Lesotho is a matter of rule of law in Lesotho, which is valid,” the letter stated.

LTTU’s secretary general ‘Mapitso Molai told the Reporter that they are still waiting for replies from the organisations that they wrote to.

“We are hopeful that soon we will get an answer that we are expecting and also hope that it will be a positive one,” Molai said.

Meanwhile, Unesco Lesotho‘s secretary general, Teboho Tsilane, says they have not received any letter from the teacher’s unions, unless they have sent the letter to other Unesco offices abroad.

He explained that Unesco Lesotho does not deal with teachers’ issues but works directly with the ministry of education Lesotho.

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