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Mauritanian Teachers Break into Education Minister's Office

[Note: All links are in Arabic]

A group of secondary school teachers broke into and entered the office of the Minister of Education in protest against the arbitrary transfer of 120 teachers to other schools. The transfers were made to punish teachers who participated in last year's strikes demanding the improvement of the conditions of employees in the education sector. The teachers considered this act a punishment for a strike they held to demand of their rights and also a violation of civil service law in Mauritania.

For his part, Mohamed Ould Rabani, Secretary General of the independent syndicate of secondary education teachers, slammed the transfer as a dangerous precedent in the history of Mauritania and asked his colleagues not to conform to the ministry's orders. In the same context, another group of arbitrary transferred teachers, held a demonstration in front of the Education Minister Ahmed Ould Bah's office, denouncing the decision and demanding its immediate retreat. Some of them also protested in front of the presidential palace in Nouakchott and threatened to resign from their posts in case the decision is not retracted. It is worth mentioning that the ministry had suspended the salaries of hundreds of teachers after their participation in the strikes organized by the syndicate.

Photograph of the protesting teachers posted on Twitter by

@mejdmr

The National Syndicate for Secondary Education issued a statement condemning the arbitrary transfer:

قدمت وزارة الدولة الموريتانية للتهذيب الوطني الأسبوع الماضي على التحويل التعسفي لعشرات أساتذة التعليم الثانوي بسبب مشاركتهم في إضرابات مشروعة، وهو ما يعد انتهاكا خطيرا للحقوق النقابية، وخاصة الحق في الإضراب المكفول بموجب المادة 14 من الدستور ولاتفاقيات الدولية التي وقعتها بلادنا، مثل اتفاقية منظمة العمل الدولية رقم 87 المتعلقة بالحريات النقابية.

The Mauritanian Ministry of Education arbitrarily transferred dozens of secondary education teachers because of their participation in legitimate strikes which is considered a dangerous violation of the rights of syndicate members, especially the right to demonstrate, which is guaranteed by article 14 in the constitution and by the international agreements signed by our country, such as the the International Labor Convention number 87, which is related to syndicate freedoms.

Tiguend blog posts a testimony of one the teachers effected by the transfers, entitled “This is why I deserve the sanction” where he speaks of the injustice of that decision:

منذ عشر سنوات وأنا أزاول مهنة التدريس في ولاية الترارزة، ولم أحصل طيلة تلك السنوات على تقويم سنوي أقل من 17 نقطة، وعملت مع مديرين مختلفين، ولم يعلق راتبي طيلة هذه الفترة إلا بسبب واحد وهو المشاركة في الإضراب، وليس لي سجل في الغياب ولا التهاون في أداء مهنتي ولله كل الحمد على التوفيق.. إلى أن جاء المدير الجهوي محمد السالك ولد الطالب وبتقرير منه شخصيا ولمدير إعدادية روصو رقم 1 الذي يخضع له ليمنحني درجة بائسة لا تتجاوز 6/20 وليزيد بي “سبحة الوشاية والنميمة” التي يعلقها منذ وصوله غير القانوني للإدارة، ثم ليجعل كل ذلك سببا في تحويلي تعسفيا ضمن 16 أستاذا في ولاية الترارزة لم يكن لهم من ذنب إلا أنهم أضربوا – والقانون يكفل ذلك والدستور يحميه – من أجل حياة كريمة وتعليم أكثر كرامة.

I have been teaching for 10 years in Trarza region and never during those years have I got less then 17 points [out of a total of 20] on my evaluation. I have worked with various directors and my salary has never been suspended except this time because of my participation in the strike. I have no record of absence or slackening in my duties and everything is fine, thanks God, until the director Mohamed Ould el Talib came and sent a report to the Rousou School director to whom he reports, asking him to give me a 6/20 grade and to accuse me of snitching and gossip, which he has been bragging about since his illegal nomination as head of administration. All this was a reason to transfer me arbitrarily along with 16 other teachers in Trarza whose only fault is to have taken part in the strike knowing that the law guarantees this right and the constitution protects it for a noble life and a more dignified education.

Mauritan.net says that the transfer is a result of a complaint, accusing the teachers of “inciting strikes and exercising politics”:

قد جاء نقل الاساتذة بناء على تقارير المدرين الجهويين عن طريق الولاة، وكانت رسائل الولاة تتضمن أن هؤلاء الأساتذة “يحرضون على الإضراب، ويمارسون السياسة”.

The transfer of the teachers was based on directors reports via the governors and the letters of the governors’ letters stated that they are inciting strikes and practicing politics.

Dedda Cheikh Brahim criticizes the way the Mauritanian regime is dealing with teacher's protests:

@dedda04 في ديمقراطية العسكر الاحتجاجات لها عقوبتها والأساتذة يدفعونها الآن بطريق قانونية #موريتانيا

In the military democracy, protests are punishable and the teachers are now paying for it in a legal way

He adds:

@dedda04 الأساتذة تم تحويلهم بعد أن قرروا المطالبة بحقوقهم. لك الله أيها الموريتاني

The teachers were transferred after they decided to demand their rights. There is God oh Mauritanian

Mauritanian journalist Mohamed Ould Salem also slammed the Minister of Education for creating a crisis in the education sector:

@medsa20 لا يتنفس ولد باهية الأكسجين العادي وإنما يعيش من صناعة الأزمات والظلم ولذلك قرر عقاب 108 من خيرة الأساتذة لأنهم شاركوا في إضرابات مرخصة

Ould Bah doesn't breathe ordinary Oxygen but lives from making crises and injustice. This is why he decided to punish 108 of the best teachers because they participated in legal strikes.

He adds:

@medsa20 موعد جديد مع عام مأزوم في التعليم 108 أستاذ يرفضون التحويل العقابي ونقابات تعليمية تتعهد بإسقاطه، ووزير يبدع في صناعة الأزمات ومراكمة الفشل

A new date with a year marked with a crisis in the education sector with 108 teachers refusing punitive transfer and education syndicates promising to make the decision fall and a minister who is very creative in making up crises and accumulating failure

Nasser Al Hachemi tweets:

@n_nasser56 إنه الإذلال والتعسف. قلبي معكم يا حَملة النور

It is humiliation and tyranny. My heart with you oh you holders of the light

Activist Mejdi Ahmed also had his word about the matter:

@mejdmr الأساتذة إعتصمو بالأمس في مباني وزارة التعليم لمطالبة السلطات بالعدول عن قرار تحويلهم والذي وصفوه بالجائر

The teachers protested yesterday in the Education Minister premises asking to renounce the decision of transferring them – a decision they judged unfair.

Al Cheikh Ould Horma also tweeted:

@Cheikh_Horma في #موريتانيا: الأساتذة يصرون على أدلجة الصراع مع الوزارة التي تصر بدورها على أدلجة مطالب الأساتذة !

In Mauritania the teachers insist to ideologize the conflict with minister who in turn insists of ideologizing the teachers demand

He concluded:
<

a href=”https://twitter.com/Cheikh_Horma/status/251075845123366914″ target=”_blank”>@Cheikh_Hormaالسنة الدراسية على الأبواب في #موريتانيا والمعركة تبدأ من جديد بين الوزارة والنقابات.. حرب بسوس !

The academic year is about to start in Mauritania and the battle starts again between the Minister and the syndicates. A dire war

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