In order to settle the ongoing industrial action embarked on by lecturers of public universities, the Government of Sierra Leone held a meeting on Tuesday 19th January 2021 in which presidents of Academic Staff Associations (ASA) were invited.
The negotiation of which the government was represented by the Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh ended in a stalemate as the engagement was not fruitful.
VP Juldeh Jalloh was bold to state that extraordinary times require extraordinary sacrifices and asked that a shared solidarity should be the way forward.
He stated that lecturers and university administrations should examine the prevailing situation and show understanding with regards their demands.
“We want you my colleague lecturers and university administration to look at the prevailing reality today and show understanding that this year government cannot afford 100% increase as we have already done 25% effective April,” VP Juldeh Jalloh stated.
He pointed out that without a functional and viable university system that is well governed in order to prepare beneficiaries of the Free Quality Education Flagship Programme, the entire programme will collapse.
The Deputy Minister of Tertiary and Higher Education who is now the Minister of Lands and Country Planning designate, Dr. Turad Senesie maintained that government has developed a framework that will be used to address concerns of the academic staff.
He further noted that an agreement had been reached between representatives of the academic staff.
This was refuted by the President of the Academic Staff Association University of Sierra Leone (ASA-USL), Dr. Williette P.R.O James who stated that what the government referred to as a framework was not clearly explained and that ASA as a body will meet with their entire membership and decides further.
Dr. James clearly maintained that their strike action continues as their demands are yet to be met.
She stressed that what ASA is putting forward is something that is not far-fetched.