Education Minister clarifies teachers' 'pay-cut' claims

He explained that it is a stop to the lump sum which was back-dated to January last year,  following the 3 percent pay rise, effective June 20, which was pay 13.

The country’s 65,000 teachers received a 3 percent pay rise, effective June 20 this year, which was Pay number 13.

Minister Kuman reiterated that the teachers had been paid lump sum backdated to January 1, 2017, however, last fortnight, September 26, some teachers had their pay cut, up to K200.

He further explained that this was not a pay cut but the lump sum, coming to an end.

Teachers’ pay rise queried in Parliament

The teachers’ plight was raised by Madang MP Bryan Kramer in parliament last week.

The teaching sector is one of the largest in the country.

In 2016 the government promised the 57,000 teachers in the country a 3 percent pay increment in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

2 years have passed and the issue remains stagnant.

Kramer, directing his question to Education Minister Nick Kuman and Minister for Treasury, Charles Abel, demanded definite answers if these increments were budgeted for and confirm when the increments will be paid.

10,000 teachers’ off-payroll

Minister Kuman explained that this problem arose because the teachers were late to submit their resumption forms before the school commences.

Minister Kuman said the Provincial Education offices were to be blamed for such problems for not submitting the teachers resumption forms to the National Department of Education in Port Moresby.

He said this is a chronic problem but urged the teachers to also do their part by submitting their resumption forms early.

“Teachers tend to fill in their resumption forms late which is affecting the payroll system.

PNGTA concerned

They highlighted these fears in relation to when the Teachers Pay verification starts in March or April following cross checking with the Teachers Resumption of Duty Forms.

PNGTA National General Secretary, Ugwalubu Mowana, raised this concern as Provincial Education Advisors meet at the March Girls Resort this week for a Workshop.

Among the agendas are issues surrounding the “Teachers Resumption Duty Forms”. 

More foreign teachers will be recruited: O’Neill

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has confirmed that the first lot of teachers have already arrived.

O’Neill made the announcement after being questioned by East Sepik Governor Allan Bird about the drop in the quality of education in the country.

The PM said maths and science are lacking in the number of teachers that are graduating out of colleges.

He stated the fault partly lies with Goroka Teachers College being converted into a university and not focusing on its role as teacher training institution.

Reminder for teachers

Students will commence classes a week later on Monday, January 29.

Education Secretary, Dr Uke Kombra, says once the teachers resume duties, they will be required to report to their principal, head teacher or manager to confirm that they have been posted to the school by the National Education Board or the Provincial Education Board.

Dr Kombra urges all teachers and new graduates to remember to complete the Resumption of Duty Summary Sheet or RODSS, and Teacher Record of Appointment and other relevant documents.

Teacher raises concern for students concentration

Charlie is the principal of Ted Diro Primary, one of NCD’s best performing school.

Sadly, this year, the school saw only half of its grade 8 students making it through to grade 9.

Charlie says this was not the case in previous years.

And while she blames this on teacher absenteeism and the development of students from stage to stage, she adds that many students this year were average and below average.

The poor grades, she says is because of lack of concentration by students.

Kuman hails teachers

Minister for Education Nick Kuman, when celebrating with teachers during the World Teachers Day on Oct 5 in Port Moresby, said teachers are the real nation builders.  

“Teachers are the ones who educate the youth of society who, in turn, become the leaders of the next generation of people and play an important role in developing their country.

“Teachers educate the children in their most impressionable years.

​Travel costly for teachers on island

For teachers on Bipi Island in Manus, they wait till the fourth fortnight to make that trip to Lorengau, simply because one fortnight pay cannot meet the travel cost.

Ms Mary Peter is a Grade Four teacher at the primary school on the island. To get to Lorengau, she travels on 40 horse powered motor on banana boats, a trip that takes up to 5 hours one way.  

“It’s very expensive, about K600 we must save to travel using 20 gallon zoom one way. We usually wait three fortnights and on the fourth fortnight, we go to town.

​Teachers need accommodation

This directly affects a child’s education when teachers are faced with this issue.

Joseph Kolowa, deputy principal of Lealea Primary School, in the nation’s capital, highlighted this as one immediate need of the school serving children in the surrounding villages.

He says at the moment, there are 14 teachers but only 12 houses. And these available houses are in very poor condition.

“We are very desperate because families are in danger. Some teachers have taken it on board to do maintenance themselves.