Despite an announcement that Sudan will begin paying their outstanding dues and delayed salaries, the national teachers’ strike has continued into its ninth week, accusing the Ministry of Finance of evading promises they previously made.
“We in the Sudanese Teachers’ Committee are committed to achieving our demands and rights approved by the Sovereignty Council and the Ministry of Finance,” the official spokesperson for the committee, Sami El Bagir, told Radio Dabanga.
Yesterday, teachers in Khartoum should have begun to receive any outstanding dues and salaries which have been delayed, including those in January, according to Undersecretary of the federal Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning Abdallah Ibrahim. The salaries of teachers and other educational employees have not yet been paid, according to the committee.
The other 17 states will follow soon, Ibrahim said in a press statement on Thursday. “So far, we have obtained data on the teachers for 16 states. Let us be serious and start, first with Khartoum state.”
Ibrahim denied rumours on social media about the Ministry of Finance’s inability to pay salaries after state employees did not receive their salaries for January. “The national budget for 2023 was only approved recently. For spending to start, procedures must be taken, including downloading the budget into a new computer system. This takes days.”
The Sudanese Teachers’ Committee reacted by saying that they will continue their strike, which started in December, “until our demands are met.” Their main demands are an increase in the minimum wage and payment of delayed pay raises and allowances.
The teachers described the statements of the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance as “political fraud.”
“Claiming lack of information for the rest of the states of Sudan is a clear trick and manipulation that will not deceive us. Who is responsible for providing information on teachers working in the states? The lack of information for state teachers is a shame for the government and cannot be justification for not distributing what is owed to the teachers.”
The committee added, “the Ministry of Finance is trying to deceive public opinion with these statements. We announce our rejection of the Ministry of Finance’s step and announce the continuation of the escalation until the demands are met.”
Another leading member of the committee, Muawya Abdeen, said that the Ministry of Finance reneged on the agreement to increase spending on education to 14.8 per cent of the budget and announced an increase to 10.7 per cent instead.
He said that the Ministry of Finance is implementing some of the issues agreed on in Khartoum only, “with the aim of dividing the teachers.”
In a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday, Ali Obaid, a member of the executive office of the committee, called for the school calendar to be amended so that the school year can be completed after teachers’ demands are met and they can continue teaching.
In mid-January, the Khartoum state Ministry of Education announced that exams would be postponed. According to the original schedule, students of class six will sit their exams in April, while secondary school students’ exams will start in May.
Teachers told Dabanga from Khartoum that the Ministry decided on this move to force the teachers to quit their strike and start working again.
“They counted on our consciences, putting the responsibility on us. The real victims of this issue are the students,” Duriya Babikir, leading member of the Sudanese Teachers’ Committee,?told Radio Dabanga.
Source: Radio Dabanga