SHP teachers demand answers

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, February 8, 2011

MOST schools in Southern Highlands have yet to begin classes as more than 4,000 teachers in the province were reportedly still returning to their respective schools yesterday and would not take up classes until their next course of action is made known on Thursday.
This follows their meeting last Thursday and a list of demands given to authorities, including the Education Department, for mining and housing allowances to be addressed and the deadline was tomorrow.
John Kuimp, a spokesman for the teachers, told The National from Mendi yesterday that teachers would meet on Thursday in Mendi to decide their next course of action.
Kuimp said the 14-day ultimatum they gave to the provincial government, Education Department and Teaching Service Commission was for mining allowances of K400 to be added to their fortnightly salary and  a housing allowance increase.
He said, so far, they had yet to received any response to their demand from authorities.
They also criticised the Papua New Guinea Teachers Association (PNGTA) for not supporting their fight for the entitlements.
He said during their meeting last Thursday, teachers, who are union members, raised whether to withdraw their membership with the PNGTA and form a new association with other teachers in the province.
Kuimp said the teachers stayed out of school since last week when other teachers throughout the country returned to schools to prepare enrolments and classes to commence yesterday.
Meanwhile, due to communication problem, education adviser Joel Raitano could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Kuimp said teachers were likely to start teaching next week.