7,000 teachers suspended, unpaid

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 15th May 2013

 THE Highlands regional branch of the PNG Teachers’ Association (PNGTA) will seek legal advice if  the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and the Education Department do not address the suspension of 7,000 teachers.

The PNGTA Highlands regional office blamed the government agencies for poor or no teachers’ data or monitoring system that contributed to their suspension.

It has given a 30-day notice to the authorities to address the suspensions or a face legal challenge. 

Government agencies TSC, the Education Department, provincial education division (PEB) and the district education offices had not kept proper data of teachers’ postings and other data, the office said.

PNGTA Highlands is prepared to start legal action on behalf of the teachers.

PNGTA Highlands regional secretary John Melson said no proper informatiopn or data were kept for terachers by any provincial agency.

As a result 7,000 teachers are off the payroll, with their families and children facing hardship.

Melson said if teachers’ movements and information were properly controlled and maintained in the provinces, the number of teachers disrupted by unforseen circumstances such as deaths, retrenchment and absence would be around 1,000.

“Right now we have 7,000 teachers in the country who are affected and I know well that more than 50,000 children throughout the country are being affected as the result of teachers not turning up for classes,” Melson said.

“Before talking about quality education in PNG, let the agencies be responsible with teachers’ data information and provide correct information on teachers’ movements.” 

He said the next important contributing factors causing complications were the geography aspects, which affected travel and assessibility, and tribal unrest 

Melson said as far as labour laws were concerned, TSC and the Education Department had no legal right to suspend teachers until they were properly charged under the set TSC disciplinary procedures and proven guilty.

“The PNGTA Highlands region is giving 30 days to the TSC and Education Department to rectify this problems and restore the teachers who have been affected by this auto-suspension exercise throughout the country,” Melson said.