UP to 484 teachers have had their salaries affected or ceased in December last year because they have been paid against incorrect pay-points and wrong position numbers.
That’s according to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development.
These were discovered during a verification exercise the ministry conducted in close cooperation with education authorities during a workshop in Honiara last month.
“According to the Teaching Service Division who led the verification exercise, 484 teachers were identified to have been paid against incorrect pay-points and wrong position numbers in 2020,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
“These were teachers who may have moved during the 2019 and 2020 period, from the Education Authority they were initially serving under, to another Education Authority, without being released or having a contract (appointments) signed with their new Education Authority, but continued to draw their salaries under their previous Education Authorities’ teaching positions,” the statement said.
“Transfer of teachers from a school under an Education Authority and who wish to teach to another school the following year, under the receiving Education Authority must be formalised in terms of their contracts, grade level and position numbers, which are requirements stipulated in the Teaching Service Handbook.
“An example would be John Blogg Gili (a pseudo name) – a teacher who taught at a school under an Education Authority in 2020.
“Mr Gili left his old school at the end of 2019 and was teaching in 2020 (through his own arrangement) at another school operated by another Education Authority.
“The receiving Education Authority did not arrange a contract for Mr Gili, nor was the Teaching Service Division informed of the transfer that had taken place and so Mr Gili was teaching at the school in 2020 operated by the receiving Education Authority.
“His salary was paid under the arrangements under his previous contract.
“The majority of teachers who had their salaries ceased during the month of December 2020 were of the same nature as Mr Gili.
“The teachers had their salaries ceased so that the problems identified could be rectified and properly formalised.”
The statement said as of Tuesday 12 January 2021, the Teaching Service Division has received names of 133 teachers from the Education Authorities, whom Education Authorities have identified to have been teaching under their Authority but with wrong position numbers.
“These teachers have had their salaries reinstated with their correct positions under their correct schools and should be receiving their salaries this fortnight.
“The rest of the teachers whose salaries were ceased are yet to be identified by their respective Education Authorities and it is assumed that a few of them could be ghost teachers.
“The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development is pleased with the outcome of the verification exercise because it has yielded positive outcomes.
“Firstly, names of the teachers (whose salaried were ceased) were identified and corrected their right/correct Education Authority and schools they were teaching at in 2020.
“These teachers have been teaching illegally under those Education Authorities they were serving under in 2019 and 2020 – meaning without contracts/and formal appointment.
“Secondly, the Ministry has reduced the cost of teacher payroll, by acting on the discrepancies identified during the teacher verification exercise.
“And potential ghost teachers could have been found and removed – this will be confirmed by the Teaching Service Division in due course.
“Finally, the Teaching Service Division will continue to monitor teacher deployment and to rectify any discrepancies that may arise this year, in terms of the contracts and registration details especially for those teachers that are expected to move from one school/Education Authority to another school/Receiving Education Authority.
“The Ministry appeals to all Education Authorities to supply to the Teaching Service Division correct information of their teachers, especially for the 2021 teacher postings, not later than the end of February 2021 so that a thorough check could be made and to confirm their movement.
“Also current work is concentrating mainly on the payroll of teachers with the aim to consolidate data and once postings are received will clean up the data to ensure that no ghost teachers exist in the teaching workforce.
“The verification exercise is conducted on a yearly basis to ascertain the teaching workforce and to remove ghost teachers.”