PNGTA outraged over stranded teachers

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, December 22, 2010

THE Papua New Guinea Teachers Association is outraged over reports that many teachers have been left stranded in their serving provinces because of anomalies in their leave fare entitlements.
Association general secretary Ugwalubu Mowana said the situation was prompted by poor provincial education planning, which needed to be investigated.
According to reports in The National yesterday, many teachers had found out two weeks after schools closed that their entitlements had been cut in half.
Others claimed that they had not collected their leave fare entitlements.
“This is absurd. We cannot have this happening every year without anybody caring about our teachers,” Mowana said.
He said this was a case of public funds going missing and it should be investigated.
Mowana said missing teachers’ entitlements, especially during their Christmas and New Year holidays, has been happening almost every year.
“This is very suspicious. Obviously, someone is getting rich through our teachers,” he added.
“A commission of inquiry must be established to look into missing teachers’ leave fares involving millions of kina.”
When notified about the problem on Monday, Teaching Service Commission (TSC) chairman Jerry Kuhena blamed poor management for these shortcomings.
Teachers were reportedly stranded in East Sepik, West Sepik, Madang and Western Highlands.
In Western Highlands, 500 teachers and their families had been affected. Reports said the
K1.6 million allocated for leave fares was insufficient.
Teachers in Madang, numbering about 50, frustrated that they would not make it home for Christmas, stoned the provincial education office resulting in its early closure.
TSC Momase regional adviser Joseph Ouyoumb said on Monday provinces were duty-bound to disperse teachers’ leave entitlements on time.
He said the entitlements were normally available after two years of continuous service at a particular location.
Meanwhile, the teachers’ association also called for a decision, passed by the national education board in 2006, to be effected for teachers to have their leave fares paid out in cash.
Mowana said teachers should not be dictated by how they travel.  
He said it was disappointing that the teachers had been let down badly by their provincial authorities.