Three months, no pay driving Adult Education facilitators mad
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March 10, 2023

Three months, no pay driving Adult Education facilitators mad

by Christina Smith

There is growing frustration among teaching facilitators in the Adult and Continuing Education (ACE) programme with some reportedly going up to three months without pay.

ACE is a teaching programme spearheaded by the Ministry of Education where teachers conduct classes in a range of subject areas including Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Information Technology. They are expected to give instruction twice weekly for up two hours per session.

The affected facilitators joined the programme in September, 2022 and since then receiving salaries on time has been an issue.

Two facilitators, who requested anonymity, spoke to SEARCHLIGHT about the vexing issue which they say has “demotivated” the group.

“They [facilitators] have been complaining that sometimes they have been owed for months, sometimes three months. And when it is time for payment, now, it seems as if you getting paid for one month, and then they go owing for two months, three months…,” the facilitator told SEARCHLIGHT.

The facilitator went on to explain that the last time they were paid was in December, 2022 for teaching services rendered in November, adding they are still owed for December, January and February and if back salaries are not cleared, soon they will be owed for March as well.

The group said they contacted a representative from the Accounting Unit in the Ministry of Education and they were reportedly told that they would not be paid for another month.

“She said most likely, we will not get paid until the end of April. You are working with government. At the end of the month you supposed to be paid,” the irate teaching facilitator said.

The facilitators told SEARCHLIGHT they are concerned that even if their salaries are brought current, in a few months, pay will once again lapse leaving them in the same situation as before.

“Most likely, it’ll just be one or two months at the most and then you go back into arrears again. How can you be owing people from December?”

The facilitator added that trying to get information from the Ministry of Education about the status of their payments is compounding their frustration.

“Every time you call and you talk to somebody, they say they are waiting on registers for everyone. When you call the ministry and the accounts department they tell you something else. So it’s just back and forth, back and forth and nobody can give you any concrete reason for late payment.”

Another facilitator also spoke to SEARCHLIGHT, highlighting the financial hardships that have been affecting the group.

“Some persons depend on it as their only source of income and they have kids to take care of, they won’t be able to pay if they have to pay school fees, or pay your light and water and so on. And for some persons who have rent, you have to tell your landlord wait until next month.”

SEARCHLIGHT contacted the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Myccle Burke on the issue and he said the back payments will be cleared by the end of March.

“We have prepared the documentation to facilitate the payment of these persons … not in April but in this month [March]. Persons who have completed a task should be compensated with urgency, we do apologize to those persons who are negatively impacted.”

He explained that there have been hiccups with the submission of registers, which is required to process the payments.

“It is a case where these persons are time-tabled by the respective zonal coordinators who are responsible for submission of the information to the Director of ACE. I believe that is where some of the delays are happening,” Burke explained.

He said that he met with senior officials in the adult education unit and the accounting unit where recommendations were made to avoid a repeat of late salaries in the future.

“The aim is to improve the efficiency and how we process payments. If there are financial issues outside of our control, that is another matter, but whatever is in our control, we have to commit to getting it done.”