The National – Tuesday, December 7, 2010
By JAYNE SAFIHAO
AN elementary head teacher, together with a group of villagers from Sai Beu in Karkar, Madang, are bitter over parliamentarians new pay packet come next year.
The teacher, Jethro Miamai, expressed total disgust in the manner members conducted themselves in parliament, choosing their pockets over the people by voting on a pay rise rather than on the women’s bill for the 22 reserved seats, and using the lame excuse that certain legalities had to be ironed out before the final reading.
“The very basic infrastructure in villages and services are not reaching the population.
“Many roads and bridges are still to be upgraded, mothers and babies are dying out here and elsewhere and no MP seems to care.
“The country is so entrenched in corruption at all levels of society.
“We, teachers, start work at 7.45am and finish at 4pm and we sit up late at night preparing for the next day’s lessons.
“If it weren’t for teachers, the country would not be where it is,” he said.
Miamai said he was not against the current outcomes-based education (OBE), but it created so much work that the pay level did not match it.
“Why should we be bearing the government’s so-called bottom-up approach and numerous reforms if members see fit to leave us out of the picture?” he asked.
He elaborated asking if it was the government’s intention to see a mass exodus of teachers in Madang who are sending applications to mining companies there, like the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.
During the Nov 25 session, parliament voted to raise the base salaries of the prime minister and other MPs by 52.08%.
The base salary of department heads, provincial administrators, provincial assembly member, the chief justice, his deputy and judges, the chief magistrate and others classified as appointed leaders also went up by the same percentage.
The rise in their base salary was backdated to last year, and this rise alone will cost taxpayers K33 million which was not included in the 2011 budget.
The villagers also shared the same sentiment saying that with greedy leaders the country was stagnant and it needed honest leaders to set in motion changes needed.
An elementary teacher’s annual base salary is below K9,000, as confirmed by another head teacher on the island.