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South Sudan teachers not paid for 13 months, set off strikes in Jonglei State

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High school teachers in Jonglei State are protesting in demand of about 19 million South Sudanese pounds that should have been paid as incentives between July 2019 and Mach 2020,

According to residents of Bor town, Jonglei State, over 200 teachers barricaded the Ministry of Education on Monday to demand their incentives.

To send a strong message, this time, the teachers decided to detain officials in their offices in the Ministry of Education.

Two senior officials of the education ministry, Hon. Abel Manyuon, the Director-General of education, and the Director of Secondary school Francis Mayen were detained in their offices and the striking teachers threatened not to release them until their incentives are paid.

The teachers, who used to be paid SSP 2, 000 were increased to $40 USD through the help of the European Union Teachers Incentives projects, however, these incentives never made its way into the pockets of many teachers.

Speaking to the media, Jacob Ateny, the Secretary-General of the demonstrators, said the Ministry of Education will remain closed under their full authorities until their incentives are paid.

“The offices of the director-general of the state education ministry Abel Manyuon and director for secondary education Francis Mayen will remain closed until we receive our money. This was agreed during our meeting with the state government yesterday,” Jacob said.

“This 19 million SSP we are demanding, is from July last year to March this year. The information we received from the Undersecretary was that all states received the money we are demanding.” He added.

A senior official in the Ministry of Education in Jonglei State confirmed that teachers have not been paid their salaries for 13 months and the Ministry has lost its chain of communication to address the matter.

The government of Jonglei state is unable to address the matter but promises that the grievances of the teachers will be communicated to authorities in Juba.

Although a relative calm was restored on Thursday, the secondary school teachers have warned that they will organize more protests if their grievances are not addressed.

They have tried to protest a few times in the past; however, some of them got arrested and the protests were crashed by the police.

South Sudan’s economy has collapsed and the government has ran out of options to pay public servants.

To address such crises, president Salva Kiir has fired his Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

Mr. Kiir also fired and installed new officials in the National Revenue Authority and Nilepet in hope to generate more revenues to run the government; however, many critics believe that these move will not make any difference.

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