As part of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus in Cameroon, PM Dion Ngute called for the shutdown of schools nationwide on March 17.
The government later asked proprietors of private institutions to pay teachers’ salaries for the month of March despite the order to stay home.
This has however not been taken seriously by some proprietors who have decided to let their staff go hungry.
Talking to MMI, a teacher at Coplar Bilingual High School in Dschang – West Region says the proprietor had not been paying salaries even before the Minister’s order.
“Now coronavirus has come and the principal is refusing to pay our March salaries” he says.
A similar worry is raised by teachers in Yaounde who say no measures have been taken to enforce the order. “What are we really going to do to survive this period without a salary?” A Therese Bilingual College, Bastos, Yaounde teacher asks.
“Last month we were paid around the 15th and with this situation I have not heard of any payment. I tried calling the Dean to no avail… I went there but met no one on campus” the instructor says.
Job security she adds is another major challenge to they of the private sector. “We have no backings or protection. You can be fired at any moment. Whether you have been paid or not you have no one to complain to.”
Like their colleagues in other parts of the country, teachers in Ngoundere say they too have to feed from hand to mouth and rely on the mercy of school proprietors.
“Some of the proprietors claim the students are still owing fees for this year” one says adding that “to worsen it, most of the staff through compulsory staff social groups were put into ‘Njangis’ and are yet to benefit.”
“With us the government teachers who come to work there (private schools), the treatment is a bit favourable and humane. The full-time private teachers are used as slaves and paid really meagre salaries from which funny dues are usually cut” another confirms.
Despite the rapid spread of the virus in the Country, some proprietors have ensured that classes go on in their schools, threatening to lay off teachers that fail to show up at work.
Many have called on government to take more stringent measures to ensure they comply, as well as provide financial assistance for teachers in the private sector given that most of them are paid based on how many hours they teach.