Togo Dismisses More Teachers as Fresh Dispute With Union Emerges

The Togolese government has dismissed nine teachers, within a week of firing 137 others, even as the teachers union continues to demand that the Faure Gnassigbe administration honour its promises to them.

Gilbert Bawara, the minister of civil service and labour, announced the intention to remove additional teachers on Tuesday.

The decision came nearly a week after 137 teachers were fired for the same reason on March 30 as a result of a strike called by the Togo Teachers’ Union (SET) from April 4 to 7.

All of the teachers have been barred from teaching and will be redeployed by the ministry of civil service and labour, according to Bawara, who described them as “agents who have consistently exposed themselves in behaviours contradictory to the requirements of instructors.”

Unlike the Coordination of Education Unions of Togo (CSET) and the Togo Workers’ Synergy, the union is not recognized by the administration and decentralisation ministry (STT).

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Bawara claimed SET has “continued to demonstrate an attitude of disobedience towards the authority of the State” in a tweet on March 30.

The problems plaguing Togo‘s education sector are not new, and teachers claim that the country’s current working conditions are unsuitable, prompting several strikes.

On March 10, the government and education sector partners signed a memorandum of understanding to resolve remaining concerns, including wages.

The government will release 5 billion CFA francs as a result of the agreement to pay incentives between 2021 and 2025.

The monies, which were pledged in April 2018 as part of a previous deal with CSET and STT, would be used to provide an annual allowance to public school instructors and volunteer teachers. A national fund to improve the education sector will also be included as part of the plan.

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The MoU also requires the central administration to hire more instructors from a variety of fields to supplement the education workforce.

“We have demonstrated, once again, that when the general interest and a common cause require it, we can go above and beyond, and have a responsible attitude and spirit.” Bawara, whose ministry is a signatory to the MoU, said following the signing. Parties included in the MoU were the federation of unions and the national coalition of education for all.

Togo’s ambitious 2020-2025 national development agenda includes a commitment to invest 150 billion CFA francs on education across the country.

President Gnassigbe stated last year at the Global Partnership for Education summit in London that the early education program still requires bold investments.

“In Togo, although we have a budget that corresponds to about 25 percent of the national budget, the share devoted to (early education) is low,” he said.

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Togo has achieved substantial improvement in its net primary enrollment rate, according to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2021 report, scoring 98.8% in 2020, up from 90.7 percent in 2018.

The government has promised that more than 3,000 instructors will be hired and 30,000 classrooms will be built by 2025.

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