The National- Thursday, January 20, 2011
By JAYNE SAFIHAO
WHILE schools are set to resume in two weeks time, Western has closed down one school with more than 60 teaching positions waiting to be filled.
Gulgubib Primary School, a remote school serving the four villages of Duwinim, Imigivip, Wagi and Tanget, last year had only one teacher for the whole year who taught only grades seven and eight.
Grades three to six pupils missed out for the year.
This year the problem has become unbearable for the teacher and the school has been closed.
This was revealed by the materials officer with the Education department in Kiunga, John Turana.
He said Gulgubib was closed down this year as a result of shortage of teachers in the province.
“This is a mining township and teachers receiving a wage less than K400 cannot survive in this province.
Many teachers in Kiunga and Tabubil and even those teaching in the schools owned by the mine have either left or resigned,” he said.
“The rural areas are remote and transportation is a major problem for teachers based there. Costs of goods are unbelievable, a 1kg rice costs K8, big tinfish K9, a bar of yellow Klina soap is K3.50 and so forth and you cannot expect teachers to live like this,” Turana said.
He stressed that the government should raise the pay for teachers working in mine site areas as a priority because teachers were leaving for greener pastures elsewhere causing the children to lose out altogether.
Meanwhile, he also mentioned that teachers from other provinces did not get their leave tickets until after New Year.
The educaton appointment officer in Kiunga, Henry Naip had looked into the matter and had issued a warning to the ticketing officer to fasttrack outstanding leave tickets as this added to teachers’ frustrations.
It was reported by The National yesterday that 1,751 teachers resigned last year from the teaching service commission due to difficulties in transportation to and from schools, poor infrastructure including accommodation, high cost of living and delay in processing payments for teachers.