Employment Minister addresses concerns over teacher hours in the Northern Division

Employment Minister addresses concerns over teacher hours in the Northern Division

By Rashika Kumar
Sunday 14/04/2024
Minister for Employment, Agni Deo Singh ( Source : Fiji Government )

Following concerns raised by teachers in the Northern Division that they are not being released on time by their head of school, Minister for Employment, Agni Deo Singh says he is aware of a circular by the Education Ministry that was issued last year which clearly stipulates that teachers working hours are from 8am to 3.30pm because they are on duty during lunch time and tea break.

While responding to questions during a consultation at the Labasa Civic Centre, Singh says teachers cannot leave the school during their breaks and that is why their lunch hour is regarded as on-duty and that is why they knockoff an hour earlier.

Singh says of course there are occasions they will have meetings and things where they do programs and planning but that is once in a while and not every Monday or Friday.

While raising concerns with fijivillage News, some teachers say that it is unfair since most schools close at 3pm, allowing teachers to visit banks on time; however, a few heads of schools are still releasing teachers after 3.30pm, causing them to be late when they reach town.

Some teachers say teachers are reaching home after 6pm twice a week.

Acting Permanent Secretary for Education Timoci Bure also confirmed that these are rare cases but, if heads of schools need to conduct meetings and training after working hours, they should seek teachers' consensus.

While responding to questions by fijivillage News, Bure says teachers could be excused from attending meetings if they have important family or personal commitments.

He has clarified that those who will not be able to attend the meeting for a genuine reason can be excused.

He says that in certain schools, teachers, with the agreement of heads of schools, stay back after normal working hours to train students in school teams.

Bure says this is voluntarily done to ensure students attain their full potential in terms of development.

The Acting Permanent Secretary also says that schools have been requesting extra classes, which again will depend on the agreement of teachers and heads of schools.

He says that it is also critical for heads of schools to monitor attendance and punctuality to school, and if teachers do not report to school on time, they should inform their respective supervisors immediately.

Bure says that failure to do so, the head of the school should address the officer upon their arrival.

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