Despite the call made by PNG Teachers Association and their 24 hours ultimatum for the government to pay COVID-19 risk allowance to teachers and reconsider their decision to suspend 32,000 teachers from the payroll starting this pay period, Education Secretary Dr Uke Kombra has instructed all teachers to resume teaching when school starts today.
Dr Kombra said he is aware of the petition made by PNGTA, however that petition must go through proper process for it to be addressed.
“There is a proper process in place to negotiate and deal with petitions.”
“But I want to make that clear that schools must resume by the 19th of April and all the teachers are expected to be in school by then.”
Dr Kombra urged teachers not to be misinformed by what has transpired lately but comply with Education Department directives and be in school by today.
The Education Department had suspended three weeks of school for this year following the isolation strategy issued by the National Pandemic Controller with the surge COVID-19 cases.
Dr Kombra said students missed three weeks of learning already and teachers were informed to reprogram their lessons so that students can learn what lessons they had missed out on.
Meanwhile PNGTA Branch President for Enga Mr Mark Sakol said the teachers in Enga are ready to resume normal classes for term 2 starting today.
Mr Sakol said, the school administrators and boards in Enga have already been provided with and put in place basic preventive measures for students to adhere to.
“We are continuing the same approach this year.”
“Nearly 80% of schools are outside of town and have less contact with 20% of the schools in the town with all schools following the new normal.”
Mr Sakol has assured the Education Department that all 40,000 plus PNGTA Financial members and non-Financial members of Enga are prepared to return to class in term 2 for the benefit of the students that missed a lot of lesson time.
It is understood teachers in Enga province will resume classes today with no disruptions.
Furthermore, PNGTA officers will be visiting schools in NCD and Central to make sure teachers have been issued proper PPEs and other necessary equipment to protect them from COVID-19.
PNGTA president Mr Aita Sanangepe said the Education Department has responded to one of their requests which is provide PPEs for teachers and PNGTA will make sure that eventuates.
“Teachers lives are at risk when they are dealing with more than 50-70 students per class everyday.”
Mr Sanangepe added that teachers have families too and the government must consider their safety and wellbeing during this pandemic.