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Lakes State declares ‘No Pay’ for over 1,500 government employees

A controversial decision led by Governor Gen. Rin Tueny in Lakes State results in backlash as the Minister of Education characterises teachers as "illiterate teachers," sparking criticisms and concerns over public communication.

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More than 1,500 government employees, including a significant number of teachers, will not receive their salaries for August 2023 in Lakes State, according to a decision reached by a ministerial council meeting led by Governor Gen. Rin Tueny, where it was resolved that the names of certain unclassified employees would be removed from the government payroll.

Lakes State Minister of General Education and Instruction, Nelson Makoi, described some teachers as being illiterate teachers, a statement that caused controversy.


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“The payroll audit of the Education Ministry revealed numerous teachers without the requisite literacy skills to qualify as teachers,” said Makoi. “On the payroll, there are a number of illiterate teachers. These teachers will not receive their salaries,” he added.

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The use of the term ‘illiterate teachers’ by the Education Minister has, however, provoked backlash among citizens and educators, criticising it as inappropriate and disrespectful to individuals who are capable of reading and writing. Critics argue that the term inaccurately represents the situation and unjustly demeans the teaching profession.

Among those voicing objections was Mr. Kocdit Ngor, the former Guild President of the University of Juba, who took to social media to express his concern. He challenged the minister’s choice of words, stating, “How could an illiterate person be a teacher before he/she misses his/her salary for August? The term ‘illiterate’ is not suitable for the deprived teachers in Lakes State because an illiterate person cannot even enter the classroom,” his post noted.

The withholding of salaries for a considerable number of government employees highlights the challenges in administration and governance, as well as the need for careful consideration in public communication.

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