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PS: Academic year starts today

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SUPERVISING permanent secretary (PS) of the ministry of education and human resources development (MEHRD) says the 2013 starts today.

The message was in defiance of the announced nation-wide strike declared by the Solomon Islands National Teacher Association (SINTA) on Friday last week.

Aseri Yalangona said since the matter was referred to the Trade Disputes Panel (TDP), teachers should return to work to resume normal duties while the matter is sorted out.

He issued a message on the national broadcaster yesterday for education authorities to ensure teachers return to work as of today.

The Prime Minister’s Office yesterday issued a statement that the Government is dealing with the issue.

The Government claimed they were not formally informed of the SINTA’s intention to stage a nation-wide strike until January 15.

“… there were no correspondences to the Government (SIG) through the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) indicating their intention of this industrial action.

“Nonetheless when the request by SINTA National Executive to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (PS/MEHRD) regarding the status of the re-leveling of teachers’ pay as per the 2012 Teachers’ Handbook in a correspondence dated 15 January 2013, PS/MEHRD immediately brought the issue to the attention of relevant Government Departments to deal with the re-leveling and other issues,” the paid statement said.

The statement added that the cabinet had met on Thursday last week and discussed a memorandum by the Minister for Education and Human Resources Development on re-leveling of the teachers’ entry point as contained in the 2012 Teachers’ Handbook.

“The Government agreed to execute the re-leveling of teachers’ pay and backdate the same to February 2012 during its 2013 financial year.”

By Ednal R. Palmer