LUCY KOPANA | My Land, My Country | Edited extract
LAE - Mrs Sharmilla Pisep is a teacher who has been serving for 31 years.
She is a mother of five and a single parent. Any student who has been taught by her, or come across her, knows how much of an active and committed teacher she is.
Sadly, she’s one of many teachers in Papua New Guinea who’ve been affected by the teachers’ pay cut problem. Last fortnight she was paid only K7.
She told me how much of a burden this is for her, and how it has greatly affected her family.
I thought of my mother, who spent 30 years teaching until she retired in 2007. Day in and day out, my siblings and I watched her being both a mother and a teacher to us and to her students.
She would sit up late working on her lesson plans and would still be the first to wake up the next day to go to school. Teachers are not paid overtime for the late night planning and marking, but they still show for work the next day.
I asked Mrs Pisep what she would do if she gets another pay cut down to just K7.
“If there is another pay cut, I don’t know what to do," she said. "Whether to go to the classroom or stay in the house. But then innocent school children will be suffering because it’s not their doing.”
If our committed teachers are passionate about teaching other people’s children, they shouldn’t be treated this way.
Elvina Ogil writes….
PNG teachers have had significant cuts to their salaries with some receiving as little as K7 ($2.96) in a fortnight's pay. Some have not been paid in months.
The PNG government has offered the usual obfuscatory excuses without actually improving teacher remuneration.
I’ve set up a crowd fund to help source some money to assist with these teachers’ living expenses and would appreciate if you could share this appeal with your readers and networks.
I’m in touch with prominent journalist Scott Waide and Bishop Donald Lippert OFM, Bishop of Mendi, who will disburse the funds.
Teachers in PNG work in tough conditions on low wages and with limited resources and assistance. All donations are welcome and appreciated.