Teachers, students leaving classroom

National, Normal

THREE schools located at PNG LNG project sites have been closed, according to PNGTA national general secretary Ugwalubu Mowana.
Mowana, who was unable to release the names of the schools and their locations, said he had been reliably informed that the schools had closed their gates as a result of a lack of teachers and students.
He said students had left as they had “a lot of money” and were not bothered about getting an education.
Teachers have also opted for “greener pastures” prompting PNGTA to reiterate earlier calls for an increase in teachers’ salaries and allowance.
Mowana said the number of teachers would decline by the end of this year with more than 1,700 teachers already being given their approvals for retirement.
He said teachers had opted to retire because the LNG project was offering a better pay package.
He said another contributing factor which was prompting teachers to want to leave teaching was the implementation of the  outcome-based education system which required so much out of teachers to be put into children’s learning yet with limited resources and poor working conditions.
Mowana further added that official records released last week had also pointed out that 2,335 teachers were expected to leave the teaching service next year.
In a press conference yesterday in Port Moresby, Mowana called on the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) to give teachers’ demands a priority.
“This is a blunt message regarding a serious matter that we want the teaching service commission to talk to us about,” Mowana said.
He said TSC had ignored their calls and not given the association any preferences regarding salary adjustments to keep teachers from leaving.