PNG TEACHERS STRIKE THREATENS STUDENTS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 13) - About 8,000 Grade 12 students around the country will be less prepared for next month’s national written expression examination if the teachers strike continued.

Primary schools under the national education system should have resumed classes on Monday after a week of holiday. So they have missed far about 21 hours of lessons as a result of the strike.

Secondary and high schools will start school next Monday after a two-week break. But if the strike continued next week, the students may be less prepared for their examination on August 14.

Papua New Guinea Teachers Association (PNGTA) president Tommy Hecko said if the Government was concerned about the education of the children they should listen to the teachers.

A grade 12 English teacher who did not want to be named, said she was concerned her students might not do well in the coming exams if teachers did not go through the revision work with them.

Meanwhile, the Teaching Services Commission and the Education Department yesterday issued a joint advice to all head teachers to open their schools or face the consequences. The advice signed yesterday by both chairman of TSC Allan Jogioba and Education Secretary Dr. Joseph Pagelio, stated head teachers must ensure their schools were open, teachers were present and teaching, students were present and attending classes and the provincial adviser was given the names and dates of absence of any teacher participating in the strike.

It said any head teacher who failed to carry out the instruction would be dealt with under section 95 of the Teaching Service Act, which gave power to the TSC to demote, suspend, and terminate teachers.

TSC operations commissioner Michael Pearson said nine teachers in Port Moresby were in the process of being suspended and would be charged under section 95. Mr Pearson said these teachers were the main troublemakers.

However, Mr Hecko said he had not received any complains from his teachers about the suspension.

July 14, 2006

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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