Education International
Education International

Ebola’s ongoing impact on African teachers

published 17 September 2014 updated 17 September 2014

Ebola continues to hit the education sector in Africa, according to two of EI’s affiliates in the region, the National Teachers’ Association of Liberia (NTAL) and the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union (SLTU).

In Liberia, national Ebola statistics show that the counties of Lofa, Margibi and Montserrado have been most severely affected. In Lofa, 17 teachers and education workers have died, with three cases confirmed as Ebola cases) and 25 are quarantined with their families. In Margibi, three teachers and education workers have died (one case confirmed) and 271 have been quarantined. In Montserrado, three have died (all cases confirmed) and 368 have been quarantined.

In total, 30 teachers and education staff died from Ebola or suspected Ebola cases, and 788 were quarantined.

Devastation in Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, 22 teachers already died from Ebola, and 7,987 have been quarantined. The hardest hit districts are the Kailahun district, with 23 infected, 18 dead and 3,021 quarantined teachers; and the Kenema district, with 17 infected, three dead and 4,757 quarantined teachers.

As of 4 September, 732 households had been quarantined countrywide, and by 10 September, 509 people had died, with 1,287 confirmed Ebola cases and 271 Ebola survivors.

Sierra Leone’s Government has declared a nationwide shut-down, requesting citizens to stay at home from 18-21 September. During this period, human and transport movements will be restricted for everyone and only medical personnel will be allowed to take care of and handle Ebola cases.

EI: Condolences to victims’ families

Following on his last letter of 26 August, SLTU Deputy Secretary General Morris S. Conteh wrote to EI on 10 September appealing for EI’s assistance and giving further details on the epidemic situation as of that date.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of teacher victims of Ebola,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “We urge the concerned governments to work closely with and support teachers’ unions in this fight. Education is the best vaccine ever created”

The outbreak has recently forced EI to move and postpone events planned for the region, namely the Africa Regional Conference and Unite culmination event in Nairobi, Kenya, now scheduled on 20 September in Pretoria, South Africa, and the Higher Education Conference in Accra, Ghana, now to be held from 10-12 November in Brussels, Belgium.