The National – Tuesday, December 21, 2010
HUNDREDS of teachers are stranded in various provinces nationwide because of anomalies in their leave entitlements.
Two weeks after schools closed for the 2010 academic year, some teachers claimed their entitlements, which are the responsibility of respective provincial education divisions, had been cut in half without explanation while others had not received their entitlements.
Teaching Service Commission (TSC) acting chairman Jerry Kuhena said poor management should be blamed for these shortcomings which teachers face every year of the end of the academic year.
Complaints received from teachers in the past days showed that those stranded were in the two Sepik provinces, Madang and Western Highlands.
The worst affected was Western Highlands where at 500 teachers would not be able to spend Christmas with their loved ones because their travel arrangements were not in order even though a total of K1.6 million had been allocated for leave fares.
Of the total, about 40 are from Southern, New Guinea Islands and Momase regions.
In Madang, teachers stoned the provincial education office, forcing its closure. Reports said at least 50 teachers would not make it home.
TSC Momase regional adviser Joseph Ouyoumb said provinces were duty-bound to disperse teachers’ leave entitlements on time. The entitlements were normally available after two years service at a particular posting.
Other complications arise where teachers have dependents, questions about the most economical route to home provinces and forms of transportation budgetted for.
There are also complaints that local teachers, who are not entitled to travel entitlements, are receiving them, thus, draining the travel budget for mostly coastal teachers.
Elsewhere, some teachers warned of mass withdrawal, claiming that there were injustice and nepotism at the provincial education offices.