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« Trail of Woe: Wartime gratitude morphs into a troubled present | Main | NZ must get on the right side of history over West Papua »

08 October 2018

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Out of my 42 year involvement in education in PNG, 22 of which were in teacher education, I have a special place in my heart for PNG teachers.

To say that, by and large, teachers are posted and forgotten is not too much of an exaggeration. Not only has professional support declined - curriculum advisers, inspectors, in-service opportunities, inadequate teaching and learning materials - but the issue of correct payment of teacher salaries and leave fares has persisted since the foundation of the National Teaching Service in 1970.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for all those unsung heroes who can still be found in their classrooms doing their best to educate their pupils with virtually nil support.

Some years ago I came across an elementary teacher in a school just a few kilometers off the Markham Highway who hadn't been paid for three years! He was still teaching, supported by the community.

Such people are the heroes of the nation, yet we never hear of any awards going their way.

Add to the money-less misery, the hampers of housing maintenance and garden allocations, both of which (if sufficient) enable teachers to continue at turning up, on time, each day, bringing treats of digestible knowledge and leading respectfully for the nation's youngsters.

As Rashmii portrays the neglect of wage-earners in the tourism 'Trailing' industry, we await a writer (or several) who will canvass the plight of education's front line exemplars.

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