The National – Tuesday, December 14, 2010
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
MORE than 40 teachers from the Southern, New Guinea Islands and Momase regions are stranded in Western Highlands because their leave fares have been reduced by more than 50%.
It was alleged that K1,000 was used as PMV fares to send some teachers back to their villages and provinces.
A woman teacher from Bougainville, who requested K17,000 in leave fares to travel home with her family, was only paid K5,000 last Friday.
Another woman teacher at Tiki Memorial Primary School in Hagen Central, who wanted to travel to Alotau and had asked for K6,000, was only paid K2,700.
But, a headmaster of a primary school, travelling from Mt Hagen city to Kotna in the Dei district, was paid K1,000.
Branch president of the Western Highlands Teachers Association Aita Sanangekepe expressed grave concern yesterday and questioned the leave fares committee on the criteria used to pay teachers’ leave fares.
He said he could not understand why a local teacher, who needed only K8 on a return PMV fare, was overpaid compared with teachers from outside of the province.
Sanangekepe claimed that not one teacher from the Southern, NGI and Momase was paid in full.
He said most of the teachers travelling by air could not do so with their families because the money allocated was not enough.
Sanangekepe said he had learnt from past experiences and had appealed to the authorities last week to ensure all teachers were properly accommodated when they take their break. Unfortunately, this did not happen.
He said the leave fare committee had breached the Teaching Service Commission Act 130 of 1988 when
they underpaid teachers from the coastal provinces and overpaid local teachers.
He said it was a serious matter that he would take up with the concerned authorities.