Absent Teachers A Big Worry to Ministry

Minister Kumar says 600-900 teachers are absent daily,  No change in the situation since height of the COVID-19 pandemic
11 Mar 2022 11:20
Absent Teachers A Big Worry to Ministry
Suva Special School student, Wendy Halo with Minister for Education Premila Kumar and fellow students following the computer set donation on March 10, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

In a single school day, around 600 to 900 schoolteachers are absent from class, says Minister for Education Premila Kumar.

She made the revelation during an interview when asked about the concerns raised by parents regarding teacher absenteeism since schools opened in January this year.

Parents also raised concerns about child supervision in schools, in the absence of teachers.

Ms Kumar, during her visit to the Suva Special School yesterday, said the amount of absenteeism from classes has been the same, with no decrease or increase noted by the ministry, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an issue of concern with the Ministry of Education,” Minister Kumar said.

“Teachers are also entitled to sick leave and other leave entitlements, but this is an area the ministry cannot control.”

She said close to 13,000 teachers were working under the Ministry of Education school system.

When the minister was asked what action her ministry would take concerning the matter, she referred us to speak to her Permanent Secretary, Anjeela Jokhan.

Ms Jokhan, when contacted for a comment, refused to elaborate on the matter.

She said the absenteeism issue was normal for any organisation.

A parent of a school near Pacific Harbour, who did not wish to be named, had shared an experience with the Fiji Sun saying that the school that his children attended had four streams of Year Five, and in a day, three of the Year Five streams were without teachers.

The concerned parent said the head teacher of the school had to supervise the three classes without a teacher and his own class on the particular day.

This equated to one teacher looking after close to 150 students.


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