Over teachers’ strike
OPPOSITION leader Dr Derek Sikua has deplored the steps taken by the Darcy Lilo-led NCRA Government to deal with teachers’ salary scale re-leveling exercise and appealed for parents’ support for the demands of teachers to be met.
An earlier statement by the Office of the Prime Minister said the government will urgently call all education authorities around the country to Honiara to make their submissions for teachers’ salary scale re-leveling to the Teaching Service Department.
But reacting to the statement, Dr Sikua said the move is absolutely unnecessary as submissions for teachers’ salary re-leveling exercise had already been done in 2010 and 2011 and this resulted in the approval by cabinet of the new teaching service scheme contained in the Teaching Service Handbook of December 2011.
“As a matter of fact the so-called ‘positive’ step taken by the government to deal with teachers’ salary scale re-leveling would be a duplication of what has already been done during the whole of 2010 and 2011,” Dr Sikua said.
“The Teaching Service Division with all stakeholders in education including all education authorities already made submissions for teachers’ salary scale re-leveling during this period.
“This exercise resulted in the identification of 3,696 teachers to be affected by this exercise out of the total number of 8,559 teachers in the January 2013 payroll.
“The so-called ‘positive step’ to be taken by the government to deal with this issue is therefore redundant.
“The fact is that the names and the number of teachers to be affected have already been identified before a paper went before cabinet in February 2012.
“The question that needs to be answered by the government is ‘what else is yet to be done?”
Dr Sikua said it is clear from the statement by the Office of the Prime Minister that the government was misguided about the process of appointments of teachers.
“This is because the powers to confirm appointments have already been delegated by the Teaching Service Commission in 2006 in accordance with Section 116B (2) of the Constitution to the Permanent Secretary, Under Secretary (Administration) and the Director of the Teaching Service Division of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development.
“So unless any new appointments are to be made there is no need for the Teaching Service Commission to deal with this matter because we are dealing with teachers who are already in the teaching service payroll.”
He said the referral of the teachers’ strike to the Trade Disputes Panel is not right because there was never a dispute between the government and the Solomon Islands Teachers’ Association over the teachers’ salary re-leveling exercise.
Rather, he said the issue at hand is the failure by the Government to allocate necessary funds for the implementation of teachers’ salary re-leveling exercise.
For this, he said, parents should support the teachers’ fight for what is due to them from the government.
The Opposition Leader said if the Government is serious about punishing those responsible for the current teachers’ strike, then the Prime Minister should take a long hard look at himself and his leadership first, as well as his cabinet Ministers’ responsible.
“The Prime Minister is the one who failed teachers by neglecting to ensure the decision reached by Cabinet in February 2011 on teachers’ salary re-leveling exercise is honoured by the Government,” he said.
Dr Sikua said this situation demonstrates the Prime Minister’s lack of focus in his leadership and incapability of managing a matter that touches the lives of not only teachers and students but parents as well.
|< Prev||Next >|