NATION

New Salary Structure For Early Childhood Teachers

The following is Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy’s media statement   It is my pleasure to address you all on the eve of the new salary structure for ECE teachers
15 Sep 2016 07:59
New Salary Structure For Early Childhood Teachers

The following is Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy’s media statement

 

It is my pleasure to address you all on the eve of the new salary structure for ECE teachers as provided for by Hon. Khaiyum, our Minister for Economy in the last Budget.

As you are aware, Early Childhood Education is a cornerstone to the success of the Fijian Education system and the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts is working to echo greater awareness and development of this important sector.

Countries around the world are now converging on the argument that the most important investment for securing a prosperous future is to invest in our children.  Making and securing a strong foundation for our children at the budding stage will pretty much shape and determine the future product.

The most important people in the ECE sector are our innocent children and their early years are very important. They provide the foundation for the rest of life, from childhood to adolescent and as an adult.

Growth of mental and physical abilities progress at an amazing rate and a very high proportion of learning take place from birth to age six. It is a time when children particularly need high quality personal care and learning experiences.

When children are young, they are learning sponges.   Every new experience, every word they learn, every behaviour they adopt is an investment in a more fruitful future.

 

 

The pivotal role of Early Childhood Teachers

The Early Childhood Teachers play a pivotal role in preparing a child for Primary and Secondary Education.

They form that link which connects the children from their home to school.

ECE teachers’ job is more than just teaching…it is also about parenting, mentoring, comforting and nursing.

All parents want our ECE teachers to treat our children like their own and being the first contact point for students as they step into the educational process, the Early Childhood teachers will define their future.

Our early childhood teachers have the role to dedicate themselves to helping children learn, grow and develop to their full potential and to helping parents, families, and communities build strong communities.

We are a country of diversity:  Diversity in cultural and religious activities, life style, food, clothing and festivities.

This diversity must be reflected in our ECE Centres…via activities, posters, dramas, etc. and our Early Childhood teachers should promote these on a daily basis.

One can never ever create a greater impression on a person than when they are in their early childhood years, thus, our ECE teachers have to significantly be the best.

Early childhood Education is about improving and moulding the holistic child, which will eventually form the basis of their life long journey thus; this strong foundation will eventually lead to a strong society and nation.

The Early Childhood teachers further need to continuously modify their roles to meet the challenging demands of our children, parents and the society at large.

An example is, at this early stage, children need to be exposed to technology.

We neither can survive by being oblivious to technological developments necessary for living and working in contemporary society.

The teachers have the challenging roles to ensure that their curriculum activities articulates creativity amongst our children and methodology of discourse at ECE Centers will be a blended mode consisting of dramas, group activities, musical activities and visual arts and discourse on moral values.

Our early Childhood teachers need to give them an alternative home, a home away from their home.

They need to discuss amongst our children, todays families, friends, society and the challenges that they face and how it could impact them. Contemporary issues in the society need to be discussed.

Only then will we be able to see and have a complete child with us. In this process, we will be able to absorb any problems they may have or be facing at home.

The demands are increasing as well as the challenges faced by our children in this globalised world, thus, as a result, the role of our teachers is also becoming challenging and more significant.

 

 

New Salary Structure and its impacts

The Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts has proposed a new salary structure for the Early Childhood teachers in Fiji.

This is in light to the announcement in the 2016-2017 budget for the increase in the salary grant of Early childhood teachers which has been raised to $6.8m.

We firmly believe that pay rise of Early Childhood Education teachers who are pre-dominantly females will empower them in their professional and personal lives.

Our government, with a stroke of the pen, has given these teachers a new hope in life.

We will not only transform these teachers and make their dreams come true, but the whole household will be transformed.

Previously, the ECE teachers were paid 80 per cent salary by the Ministry while the 20 per cent was paid by the Management.

Now, the Government has taken ownership of 100 per cent payment.

Upon review of the salary structure, it was noted that there exists anomalies in pay structure as teachers with Degree level and Advanced Certificate level were categorised and paid under Category 1 while teachers with Diploma qualification were paid Category 2 salary.

Thus, the salary structure has also been reviewed to pay teachers at appropriate qualification levels.

The breakdown of category and salary increment is as tabulated.

In addition to this, 10 per cent mandatory employer contribution will be paid directly by the School Management while 8 per cent employee contribution will be deducted at source by Ministry of Education and paid directly to the respective Officer’s FNPF contribution.

All ECE teachers would be paid monthly salary grant and this new scale is effective from 1st August, 2016.

The August salary grant is due in the second week of September.     Moreover, teachers who would be taking double sessions would be paid for 7 hours and teachers taking single sessions would be paid for 4 hours.

Further on, the respective MOAs and MOUs with schools are being amended accordingly and the Ministry of Education is in the process of sending the revised Memorandum of Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding to the School Management and Teachers to complete and submit.

In our Fijian Education system, we have females who take up ECE teacher roles and they have been the driving force behind the success of our children.

These women have been loyal to their roles even though their pay was not substantial.

Our Government of the Day is effectively making progress in making our Education sector second to no other in the world and this development includes Early Childhood Education.

The increase in salary will surely empower these ECE teachers and motivate them in the tasks they carry out.

The mothers, wives, sisters and grandmothers who are at the helm of Early Childhood Education will now inject the increased wages on their families and their personal and professional lives.

This could not have been all possible given the salary scale that these teachers were contracted under.

Many of these women are single earners, come from poor background, are using their income to educate their siblings, are studying for higher courses through their income or are simply supporting their own children and families. They needed this shot to their salary and we are delighted for them.

With the increase in salary, our ECE teachers will be empowered to take up studies towards higher qualification.

This will be a ‘win win’ situation for all, as higher qualification will lead to higher pay for the teachers and at the same time develop their professional competency and marketability which will support our quality education drive.

With growing need and investments on ECE in Fiji, the women who take up the role of ECE teachers in the remote rural areas and maritime zones are a motivation to all other women who look to transit in the work sector.

Now the ECE sector is becoming more attractive for people to ply their trade.

 

 

Concluding Remarks

The Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts will continue to innovate in policy, planning, service delivery, monitoring and evaluation to reach out to all children.

We will continue to implement innovations in financing partnerships to increase investment in ECE and improve the efficient use of resources and coordinate mechanisms to promote holistic development and enhanced learning outcomes.

With the innovations in pedagogical approaches and human resource development, the increase in the salary scale of teachers and the increase in $50 per child per term grant from two terms to three terms is the step in the right direction.

In August this year, the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts in collaboration with other ECE Departments of the Tertiary institutions organised the first ever 2 day Early Childhood Conference in Fiji.

The main objective of organising this Conference was to collaborate with important stakeholders to facilitate Quality Early Childhood Education for every child and as such, develop a strong foundation for future educational excellence.

The nearly 1200 early childhood teachers present were extremely thankful to the Ministry of Education for organizing such a grand event for them as this was an opportunity of their lifetime and an enriching experience for them.

Our ultimate aim for EC Education in Fiji is to see that all children have free and easy access to Early Childhood Education and attain Quality learning for overall development.

The Ministry has taken the challenge that all inequalities will be rooted out at its inception and as such, any hindrance that our children may face to have access to quality Early Childhood Education will be rooted out.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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