Friday, September 29

Government owes schools over D70 million school improvement grants

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By Mustapha Jarju &

Aminata AP Ceesay

The president of the Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) has revealed that the government is owing public schools a D73, 266,135.00 School Improvement Grant (SIG).

Mr. Ismaila S Ceesay revealed this on Thursday, 6th July 2023 at GTU organised press conference held at the Gambia Teachers Union Head Office in Kanifing. The conference was centered, on the government delay and non-payment of the School Improvement Grant (SIG).

According to him, this includes the 2022, 2023 2nd and 3rd terms respectively and as well as the books. 

Breaking it down, it includes (a) SIG 3rd term – D15,110,516.00 (b) SIG 2nd term-D26,035,619.00 (c) Books-D42, 120,000.00 with total arrears of D73,266,135.00 and a total request of D206,636,011.00, in which 35% still pending at the end of the school academic year. 

The GTU President explained that year ago, the governments abolished the payment of school fees and introduced the SIG which remains in the same position since its inception in 2013. 

“The SIG money is used to pay the salary of auxiliary staff, buy learning materials, and also the allowances of the senior staff. Generally, the SIG money that we are talking about is what is supposed to bring us the result, this is what should help better prepare the students for external examinations”. 

Essa Sowe the Deputy Secretary General of the GTU speaking at the Press Conference said, the GTU can ascertain that Principals of some of the schools take personal loans from the Teachers Credit Union to run the affairs of their schools, which is unacceptable.

He added that the “Loan they acquire from the credit union is used to pay the interest on behalf of the schools they are running, the only crime they have committed is because they are managers of those schools that is unacceptable.”

he said the worst is the new principals who found no butut in the coffers of the new schools they are posted, considering the staff whose gross salary is less than the fuel allowance of some of the Managers which they are paying from the SIG fund.