Fact Check: Is Togo Waging A War Against Its Teachers?
The Togolese government has dismissed nine teachers within a week of firing 137 others, following a strike action by the Togo Teachers’ Union from April 4 to 7, 2022.
A total of 146 teachers have been barred from teaching and would be redeployed by the ministry of civil service and labour, on accusations of acting “contrary to the requirements of teachers” in the country.
Gilbert Bawara, the minister of civil service and labour, added that the union was not recognised by the administration, unlike the Coordination of Education Unions of Togo (CSET) and the Togo Workers’ Synergy (STT).
Why The Teacher’s Union won’t Back Down
According to a spokesman for the union, the working conditions for teachers in the country have continued to deteriorate for a while now, hence the many strikes.
On March 10, 2022, the Togolese government signed a memorandum of understanding with stakeholders in the education sector to iron out outstanding issues, including payment of outstanding fees.
The government agreed to release 5 billion CFA francs (about $8.3m) to pay for bonuses over the 2021-2025 period. The amount would include an annual allowance for teachers and volunteer teachers in public schools, as well as a national fund to enhance the education sector.
The union kicked against the agreement, stating that the government ignored its repeated demands for a monthly allowance of 50,000 CFA francs (about $83) for all teachers, along with other bonuses.
This struggle between the government and the teachers is coming just before the term exams, slated for May.
Education is an important part of Togo’s ambitious 2020-2025 national development roadmap and it has pledged to invest 150 billion CFA francs (approximately $250m) into the sector nationwide. The government also announced the planned recruitment of more than 3,000 teachers and the construction of 30,000 classrooms by 2025 to grow the sector.