Solomon Islands Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) is encouraging teachers to return to classrooms while responsible authorities are working to sort out their salary payments.
Teachers went on strike last Friday after losing patience and claiming the government has failed to pay their salaries according to a new re-leveling scheme of teachers’ conditions of service.
Permanent Secretary, Fred Rohorua explained that the delay in processing teachers’ re-leveled salaries was due to administrative procedures and the slow information flow from Provincial Education Authorities to the Teaching Service Division.
This situation has slowed down the process of forwarding the right information or data to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MOFT) in time for preparation of the teachers’ payroll.
“The delay in teachers receiving their re-leveling during last Thursday’s pay period was due to administrative procedures and the slow information flow from provincial Education Authorities to the Teaching Service Division which in turn affected the slow process of forwarding the right information or data to MOFT in time when the payroll was being run or prepared” Mr Rohorua said.
On criticisms leveled against the Ministry for failing to honor its commitment to teachers, Mr Rohorua said the Ministry of Education is neither ignorant nor deaf to the welfare of teachers in this country.
“We recognized that teachers have real issues relating to their profession and conditions of service such as housing allowances and leave or holiday travel passages. But these issues have to be worked through in a systematic and orderly manner,” Mr Rohorua said.
“We cannot be continuously distracted by such illegal activities as orchestrated by SINTA as this side distraction only makes us lose focus on what we want to do and supposed to do,” he added.
In the meantime, the Government is urging teachers to return to classrooms as their action will affect all children’s right to education.
“Lost time in teaching through unnecessary strikes or work stoppages is a loss shouldered by our own children of Solomon Islands and if teachers go on strike, no-one else in the world will come and teach our children,” Mr Rohorua said.
The Ministry of Education is also encouraging teachers to maintain their professionalism by ignoring SINTA’s call for any illegal strike action which only leaves Solomon Islands children as the real losers.
“It’s time parents and the wider public should call for greater responsibility and accountability from teachers who are supposed to be responsible for the education of the children of this country,” Mr Rohorua added.
Meanwhile, teachers are assured that the Government remains committed to honor its duty to pay their salaries as soon as administrative issues that delayed the payment process are sorted out.
Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit