SINTA pushes hard on teachers’ concerns

SOLOMON Islands National Teachers Association (SINTA) is pushing hard to ensure long outstanding issues and concerns affecting teachers are resolved over time.

SINTA General Secretary Robert Lafisi revealed this in an interview saying the SINTA is pushing hard to seek answers.

He highlighted a number of issues which includes salary rise, absenteeism and housing allowance.

Salary increase for teachers of the country is one of the long standing issues which seen past government and SINTA executive battling for to accomplished but to no avail.

“Yes I have move up one more step to that area (Teacher salary) by running one survey by myself this year collectively gathering a kind of a research paper to what teachers are facing especially in terms of their salaries compared to their living cost at the moment,” Mr Lafisi said.

He said SINTA has hired a consultant to draw up the results of the research paper and it’s been done.

“It’s very interesting to see some data’s that have been come out at the moment in terms of teacher’s salary faces the living cost of the country at the moment,” he added.

Mr Lafisi said the issue of increasing teacher’s salary is something the SINTA Board is taking seriously and will take process to address.

“After we settle down from the world international teacher’s day celebration I will finally fill in the bits and pieces which needs to be filled and then I will start to approach stakeholders where needs to be aware of what is happening now through/with the research paper,” he said.

He added that, actually the research paper is gearing towards increasing teacher’s salary.

“We cannot ask for an increase while we cannot base it to any row data or background information and so we have to do our own research paid by the Union to ensure we get background information and prove as evidence to what is currently at the moment,” he said.

He added that teacher’s absenteeism is one of the complicated issues which government usually talks about but cannot address.

“It’s a long standing issue. But the point is what causes absenteeism. Is it because it is a drive for survival where teachers need to do in order to survive they have to absent or is it because of negligence.

“These are two things that need to be researched carefully otherwise at the end of the day if it’s something to do with survival then absenteeism is something that likes an inkling that has to happen for the sake of survival.

“For instance, in Honiara, teachers have no rental housing scheme because government did not provide them with any rental allowance for them. And if a teacher happens to rent a house, he/she have to pay for the rental using his/her own salary.

“And currently I have approached one of the Ministry Panel and I have made a submission to the education authority’s conference in Malaita last month and also I have made a presentation to the senior management of the Ministry of Education concerning that issue (rental scheme).

“And we are trying to come up with some kind of a scheme to address this issue or teacher’s rental issue,” he said.

Mr Lafisi assured all good teachers of this country that his office is working on their (teachers) issues.

“The only assurance to my good teacher is that we are working on your issues from what where SINTA have presented before the Ministry of Education.

“We have made a very comprehensive presentation to the Ministry especially on every single thing where all teachers are very likely to face it in the field.

“Also we have compiled it in one full document and we have presented it before the Ministry and the Ministry is very helpful and are willing to work together with SINTA especially in this new relationship where we have built it between us at the moment,” Mr Lafisi said.

Mr Lafisi on behalf of the SINTA office also thanked all teachers who attended the world international teacher’s day celebration at Tatamba in Isabel province for their participation which made the event a successful one.

By STEPHEN DIISANGO

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