Private Schools: Making Teachers Priority Too!

A school teacher is in the news for putting his employer under lock and key in his (employer’s) own home for not paying him salaries for five straight months. The incident, as reported by the media, happened in “Village”, a neighbourhood in Douala III Subdivision in the Littoral Region of Cameroon. The brawl attracted the intervention of law enforcement officers who succeeded on the spot to broker peace whereby the employer made an instant payment of two-month salary out of the pending five.
That is only one of the many episodes where, under the yoke of salary drought, teachers have been forced to create incidents against their employers to obtain their pay. Again, that happens chiefly in lay, individual and privately-owned schools. Many proprietors take all the income for themselves leaving the teachers in desperation and in many cases without regular pay, talk less of motivation. The situation also holds same for some confessional schools where teachers earn catechist pay and some cannot even clearly state when and how much they will be paid by their employers. That consequently renders them beggarly in the face of parents, pupils and students as well as State-employed colleagues who are regularly and relatively handsomely paid. 
Mean salaries for teachers and non-payment at all remain worrisome in private proprietorship schools. In that sector of education, school owners are very much given to take school running as a Machiavelli business venture with little regard for teachers who are yet the pivot of the school machinery. How does it rise to the level where school owners who are teachers’ employers would not pay their toiling employees? A simplistic question marvels if schools can function without teachers? It is even funnier that in the reported case, two-month salaries were immediately paid when the Police came to the scene. It smacks of bad faith of the employer who really had money but was refusing to pay his employee-teacher. 
Paying teachers regularly is also giving them their rightful place in the school management process. It is a due recognition of their expertise and pivotal role in school running. Making teachers a priority too allows for a better expression of teacher experience and input in the educational system. Good pay equally creates a more collaborative and effective educational environment especially beneficial to learners who have paid their fees. Where the teacher is poorly or not paid at all, their input must pull down learners’ results.
From the reported cases of violence between employers and teachers, it becomes obvious that when people create schools, their primary aim is to make money regardless of the workers who tune in the cash. It is understood that every business venture seeks to minimise expenditures and maximise profits. But not to the extent of giving a near dog treatment to another human being at least! Reasonably, that money cannot come through a school business without teachers’ input. Therefore, the teacher must be given prime consideration in the school managing process. Creating a school and getting it run well is partnership that should logically be on win-win basis. 
To avoid demeaning teachers, such ways to give them satisfaction in a school business include their representation in decision-making bodies of the institution. Teachers must be central in school management committees, boards, or councils. In that way they have a voice in policy decisions and can provide valuable insights for better management. Teachers can contribute to discussions on curriculum development, student assessment, school scheduling, and other important matters for the credit of the institution. When that is done, school results shine, more learners enrol and more cash, by way of school fees, can flow in. When the cash is there, it takes bad faith for employers to delay teacher’s salaries, or pay them haphazardly.
In their opaque manner of running schools, some proprietors forget that sustainability in business depends on good faith, transparency and vision. Where teachers do not derive job satisfaction, the institution cannot be reliable, sustainable or profitable. Where learners do not find standards accruing from teacher-commitment, the school is bound to collapse with poor enrolment, poor results and a dark image. It is like a multi-mode hinge on which profitability and sustainability should rest. If the owner of the school business cannot reconcile both, they may make quick gains for a quick fall.    
However, from whatever portfolio the school proprietor considers their interest, the profession of teaching, most honourable on the planet earth, must be protected. It is that from which all other professions derive and sustain. No teaching, no generational continuity in acquiring whatever knowledge. Teaching must enjoy full development opportunities whether in private or State-owned institutions. It must not be allowed to dwindle into lackadaisical and ragamuffin states like what is observed in some areas today.
Understandably, if b...



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