The National – Wednesday, February 2, 2011
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
MORE than 30 teachers from coastal provinces teaching in Western Highlands are still stranded in the province.
The affected teachers raised concerns last Friday on why the leave fare committee and provincial education board had prevented them from visiting their families back in their home provinces.
The teachers’ leave fares were cut by more than 60% and that was not enough for the teachers and their families to travel home and return.
President of the PNGTA branch in the province Aita Senangeke claimed that nepotism came into play when the committee sat for the teachers’ leave fare meetings last year.
Senangeke said that it was not fair when a local teacher was getting K1,000 in leave fare from Mt Hagen to Dei district when it was supposed to be about K40 for the return travel for a teacher and his family.
He said many teachers who were suppose to travel by air stayed back because their travel fares were cut by 60%, adding that about K720,000 in airfares given to Haren Travel Agent but was not enough to cater for all the teachers who were supposed to travel.
Sanangeke also claimed that to make it worse, the travel agent allegedly deducted 10% fee on every teacher who got their refund in cash because of the insufficient funds to cater for their travel.
He said a teacher who was suppose to travel to Bougainville asked for K17,000 but was only given K5,000; another teacher who requested K5,000 to travel to Port Moresby and return with his family members was only given K1,500. It was the same story for other teachers from Wewak, Vanimo, Kavieng, Daru, Madang and many other centres.
He said the concerned teachers would seek their outstanding money from the provincial education board when the school year starts next week.
Sanageke said whatever amount the teachers requested was rightfully theirs and must be given to them.
He said if the provincial education board continued to treat the teachers from other provinces like this, many of them would be reluctant to teach in the province.