Report and pictureby JEFFREY ELAPA
AN elderly teacher who has taught in Madang for the last 23 years burst into tears when she was told that all leave fare funds have been exhausted.
The woman, who is believed to be a widow from Manus, told the frustrated crowd of teachers and a lone senior provincial education officer in front of Madang provincial education office that she had never spent her holidays with her loved ones in her home village since taking up her teaching job in Madang as she continues to miss out on her leave fares every year.
The same thing happened to her this year when the authorities said the funds allocated for teachers’, leave fares had been exhausted.
She said many teachers with less than five years’ experience, had been paid and had gone home and were now enjoying with their families, while she and other long-serving teachers were still stranded in Madang, not knowing when they would ever visit their homes and relax after all the years of service to the people of Madang and the Government.
“I’ve served the province for the past 23 years and yet, year after year, I miss out and have never gone home. It really hurt while people with less than 10 years experience are paid,” she said through her tears.
Many other frustrated teachers who went to collect their tickets were told that the funds allocated for the leave fares had all been exhausted and that they must wait patiently as the provincial administration was seeking assistance from the Department of Finance.
Some annoyed teachers started kicking the door to the main office while others demanded that the authorities should release a list of teachers who were paid and those who had not been paid.
It was understood that the adviser and the provincial administrator were in close consultation with the Department of Finance for the shortfall of K1.2 million of leave fares.
However, the teachers were told to come back and check later this week, but that made the teachers more angry that they were going to miss the
Christmas celebration with their relatives at home.