Some 6 thousand teachers will be put off the payroll as part of the National Department of Education’s cleansing exercise in saving public money.
Education Secretary, Doctor Michael Tapo, confirmed on thursday during a Parliamentary Inquiry.
These teachers will be put off the pay roll starting this month following findings that their status on appointment and duty resumption were not established each year.
This news was revealed during presentations by the PNG Teachers Association, the Teaching Service Commission and the National Department of Education when appearing before the Parliamentary Referral Committee on Education at Parliament House last thursday.
Doctor Tapo said the lay-off has been blamed on the provincial education authorities’ failure in submitting teacher name lists and their appointments, postings and confirmation of their resumption of duties at respective schools on time each year.
He reported to the Committee that out of 50,421 enrolled teachers in 2014, only 44,590 were confirmed to have resumed duties.
This showed that 5,831 teachers did not resume their duties, and will now be removed from the payroll this month.
The PNG Teachers Association Secretary, Ugwalubu Mowana, leveled the blame on the Alesco payroll system describing it as “useless” and not “responsive to the needs of teachers in the country”.
He said because of the non-responsive nature of the Alesco payroll system, some 25,000 teachers in the country are still on an acting basis.
TSC Chairman, Baran Sori, told the inquiry that “In 2012, there was a salary blow out of K140 million and in 2013 this amount exceeded K140 million.
Dr. Tapo told the inquiry that his department faces a lot of challenges and impediments in areas of correct teacher data, HR and payroll disbursement, appointments, leave, leave fares, and other working conditions of teachers, adding that the administration of the payroll system could have been better. He said that it was “a very big task” in order to get it right.
The Secretary said since taking Office nine months ago, he has engaged the services of Price Waterhouse Coopers Chartered Accounts, and Business Advisors to help “fix the payroll system” of the education system.
Dr. Tapo said his HR and salary staff were not trained and skilled in the art of operating the Alesco payroll system, and this has caused further problems.
He has prioritized the Alesco roll out to the remaining 10 provinces this year, however, in future he wants each province to establish its own payroll system for the long term benefit of the administration and management of some 60,000 teachers in the country.
Dr. Tapo also wanted appointments of the Provincial Education Advisors returned and centralized at Waigani, so that PEAs are subject to the Education Secretary, rather than the current regime where PEAs become yoyos to the whims of politicians and power bureaucrats in the provinces.
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