No Pay Cut For Teachers: A-G
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AIYAZ SAYED-KHAIYUM DISMISSES RUMOURS OF A PAY DECREASE
Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz SayedKhaiyum has dismissed rumours that teachers will be receiving a pay decrease this year. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum assured teachers at a press conference in Suva yesterday that “no teacher will receive a pay decrease.” He said the ministry wanted to be very clear on this “as we move to institute civil service reforms and merit-based recruitment.” “There are some rumours going around that some teachers will receive pay decreases. That’s not true at all,” he said. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said all teachers who would be reengaged would get a higher pay rate than their rate prior to the job evaluation exercise.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they would also be able to receive further pay rise based on assessments in the first year. He said new contracts issued by the ministry would be dependent on the result of the teachers’ evaluation and that pay would be supplemented by additional performance-based payments later in the year. “Once the reforms are fully instituted Fiji will have the merit-based compensation,” he said.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that any education staff who did not receive their acting allowance in the school holidays had been put back on that acting allowance from January 10.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has warned schools not to turn away students who attended the same school last year. He said he had received various complaints of students being turned away by school principals from prominent schools in the Central Division.
“No school has the right to turn away students who attended that school in the last academic year,” he said. He said some principals had turned away students who had passed Year 12 but their marks were not high enough because they wanted 100 per cent pass for Year 13.
He said one student of a prominent school in the Suva-Nausori corridor received 295 marks. But the school said it would only accept students who scored 300 marks. It disallowed the student.
“That is not acceptable,” he said.
Help Line 163
Meanwhile, parents or teachers can now report their concerns to the ministry by calling the toll free number 163. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “This is the first time that the ministry has set up the number with Vodafone and Digicel, where people are allowed and given a chance to voice any problem, importantly to find a solution. The number will go live tomorrow. (January 16). Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has wished students the best for the new school year. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the new school year was especially important for those who entered the classroom for the very first time particularly the Year one students.
He said the ministry had been happy to see parents take advantage of the subsidised bus fares by registering children at the nationwide e-transport road shows to receive e-transport cards. “Last week, we only had about 23,000–24,000 people who had actually registered for the e-transcript cards or top up and now, as of yesterday, we had 63,000 students who have registered. “We have heard from parents they are happy with the new system as it has made their journey to school more convenient to their children,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
He said last year there were some abuse of the cards and they have addressed the issue and have made the system more efficient and more accountable for students. “As a reminder all student e-cards can only be used from 5am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday,” he said. He said they had also made arrangements with the school bus companies that if students did not have their cards at least for the first few days or first two weeks school buses could take them without the cards. He said parents must understand that they must have the cards within the first two weeks of the school term.
He said there were other means of transport on subsidised basis such as carriers, trucks and boats in rural maritime areas.
He said these students would continue to receive vouchers and they would continue to travel under the voucher scheme. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said eligible students of Year Two to 13 had already received the voucher to take home during the last day of school last year and this could be used today.
He said Year One parents had been able to apply for the voucher since January 10. He said those who hadn’t were urged to do so and they could receive it in school today.
He said the head teachers had been given the authority to approve the vouchers.
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.