It has been revealed that teachers formally engaged in Early Childhood Education (ECE) schools throughout the nation have been “slaving” away for years without pay, it was revealed on Sunday.
This was the effect of a ban allegedly imposed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) four years ago.
The ban, which the Government appears to have forgotten all about, was intended to discourage untrained teachers entering the service.
All Education Boards were directed to inform schools within their jurisdictions that unless the ban is lifted no Early Childhood Education teachers were to be paid a salary.
Since the ban the Ministry has, through the various Education Boards, conducted “field-based” training to get untrained teachers formal recognition. But that’s as far as it could take some.
“I have been teaching since I received my field-based training certificate in September 2012. To date I have not received a single penny in salary. It is slavery,” the teacher said.
“Each time we enquire with the Education Office in Auki, they told us there’s little they could do unless the Ministry has withdrawn the ban,” the Malaita teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said.
“This is slavery. The field-based training should never have been introduced in the first place because although it led to formal appointments as teachers, the Ministry has not lifted the ban and we remain unrecognised as trained teachers.
“As such they have not paid us a salary,” the teacher said.
The teacher believe this problem is not confined to Malaita province but the nation as a whole.
Some teachers with families had left their posts because they could no longer support their children.
“Some of us are lucky to be teaching in rural schools. However, it is getting harder as we have a family to care for as well. It is my hope the Government shows humanity in dealing with this problem,” the teacher said.
“Early Childhood Education is fundamental to formal education as a whole. It is the foundation of formal education. I think the government would do well to recognise our contribution to nation-building through this sector,” the teacher said.
By Alfred Sasako