Teachers punished

Education ministry cuts salaries for 380 teachers on in-service training

By Alfred Sasako

EDUCATION Authorities have reportedly begun penalising teachers who are undertaking in-service training to upgrade their qualifications, it was revealed yesterday.

And the Minister of Education and Human Resources Development, reportedly told teachers taking the in-service training to upgrade their qualifications that they must be prepared to accept having their salaries cut as punishment for taking up SINU courses.

Up to 380 teachers around the country have had their salaries discontinued, according to information obtained by Island Sun.

These teachers have self-sponsored their in-service training at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) this year as their bids for government scholarships have been denied due to financial difficulties being faced by the government.

They have written to the Director of the Teaching Service Division of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development appealing for help as their families face “the prospects of going through unnecessary hardships”.

“There are 380 of us who are the subject of this letter,” the letter dated April 9, 2018, said.

“We have missed out on the government funded teacher training scholarships for 2018 and, based on what we have observed throughout our career, we believe that it is in our interests as teachers, and in the interests of the clear and obvious growing need for quality education throughout the country, particularly the various provinces in which we have been serving including Honiara, we need to upgrade our knowledge and skills.

“Therefore we took the initiative to undertake the teacher in-service training course offered at SINU this year through self-sponsored arrangements,” the letter said.

“It is therefore a serious concern to us that with all the noble and well-intended intentions, we and our families are definitely facing the prospects of going through unnecessary hardships due to the fact that our salaries are being cut by the Ministry.”

The in-service teachers have also put out a number of options for the government to consider, including a written offer of a full SIG scholarship in 2019.

The teachers met with the Minister for Education, but said he was “of little help to us”.

“What he said to us was, you have disobeyed by taking up the SINU course so you must be prepared to accept the punishment for doing the wrong thing. That punishment is that your salaries would be ceased,” a teacher familiar with the case told Island Sun yesterday.

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