Industrial Action by Teachers: the Lesson

01 Jul

Today, industrial action by teachers of the country organized by the Association of Teachers Link, was completed successfully. The organizing committee has called off the strike and given the govenment a month to comply with the basic demands of teachers for a reasonable salary and honorable working conditions commensurate with the profession. There is much to learn from the event, though I am not sure whether there is a strategic think tank that has been established to deeply look into it either by the Civili Service Commission, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, the Public Service Division of the President’s Office, or the Minister of State for Employment.

The most striking piece of information to me, in the myriad of news paper articles that crowded the papers today were these lines in Haveeru:

So beautifully said! And who else could say it better than a free mind uncorrupted by politicial interest or other biases and prejudices. “Without teachers we will also be stars in the gutter!” (Not the word to word translation – but the sense of what the 12 year old said.)

I just wish our political leaders and bureaucrats will have the same common sense! Instead, our political leaders condemn and verbally attack the teachers in parliament, threaten them with “action” if they take industrial action to get their rights, and blame them for being a bad example for the children. And those who are paid fat salaries call upon teachers to be good samaritans and do their duty even if their basic rights are not given. The only fault of the teachers is that they are too many! If they were few in number like the Airport Company staff, the Customs staff, the Magistrates, the Atoll Chiefs, and the members and staff of the independent commissions established by parliament, the parliamentarians themselves or the 100 over ministerial portfolio holders; that would have been nice!

I was not able to capture a comment in another daily paper online version which called upon the striking teachers (in a very Maldivian way) to go back to their islands where they belong if they could not afford to live in the capital. I am not quite sure why the comment was later taken off by the paper’s online version.

It is also interesting that the DRP and the MDP seem to have stayed silent on the issue, with Adaalath Party taking the centre stage in defense of the teachers; whilst the Jumhooree Party that is in the process of its inception is said to have condemned the industrial action by teachers.

It will be interesting to see what the politicians who have given a deaf ear to the pleas of the teachers will say to them, when they in turn go to the teachers asking for votes! The lesson I get from all of this is that our politicians really don’t have to listen to anybody! They are a class by themselves because they have the technology of winning votes despite the people! Wow!


3 responses to “Industrial Action by Teachers: the Lesson

  1. paperclippenny

    July 2, 2008 at 9:41 am

    And to top it off the state owned media is doing nothing but criticize the teacher on the “bad example” they are setting to the kids.

  2. Muna

    July 1, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    one thing i noticed from teh news conference held by education minitry is they tried to convince us in a way that equipment, buildings and other faclities cannot be given becasue a big chunk of education budget is spent on salaries. A person like Dr. Aaamaal trying to convince us in such a way was surprising because in a sector like education, human resource (teachers) should be priotiry nubmer one, two, three and the rest comes after. we can survive and get good grades wihtout the equipment but not wihtout the teachers.

  3. shahuru

    July 1, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I am not sure if our politicians actually knew which side of the situation they supported for what reason.Were they able to grasp the strategic implication of the incident.?

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