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Truant teachers are lucky to still have jobs!

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Dear Editor,

This is just to put another spin on WHY some of the teachers have had a change in posting and it has nothing to do with the strike.

My daughter has been in Tonga High School for the past two years, during that time we have had endless problems with teachers not turning up for classes. I had approached the Principal, the Deputy Principal and also the Ministry of Education, at that time to no avail. Some teachers had legitimate reasons for being away but at this time the Education Department does not have a relief teaching system in place. I spoke with students right from the lower forms up to Form 7 and it seemed to be a common occurrence that some teachers at their own will skipped their classes.

When the strike happened I marched in support for better pay and thought once the teachers were back at school we would all see a major improvement in their attendance.

Was I wrong!

According to the Principal the teachers involved were good for the first week and then slipped into their old ways.

When my daughter got her mid-year report which arrived towards the end of the year she had come 3rd in her class. This might sound good but the marks that corresponded with that placement were rather low. Either the 170 or so students were all useless or the teachers were not doing their job properly.

I spoke with the Principal who was at her wits end. She didn't know what to do anymore as the truant teachers were not taking any notice of her even though she had told them that countless parents had been calling her about this problem.

She then asked if I could go direct to the Ministry with my problem as she felt she was getting no help from them even though she had already forwarded a list of the teachers who were playing up.

When I called the Ministry they were just about to work on their staff placement for 2006 and I was told that the teachers involved would be moved around so that hopefully we would see a change for the better once school reopened.

So, to all the teachers that have been moved because of this reason: you should be lucky you still have a job.

To the rest of the community: you need to keep up with what is happening in your schools. What used to be a good system is now going down the tubes and it is your children that are suffering.

Don't let it happen!

Donna Taumoepeau

donna-mareet [at] hotmail [dot] com