The Attorney General, Minister for Civil Service and Education says a Education Ministry circular states that some senior Ministry officials’ positions would be advertised at new, higher salary bands which is in accordance with Government’s clearly stated civil service reform policy of advertising all positions that are set to receive salary increases of over 15% in order to ensure that the most qualified candidates hold these higher‑paying positions.
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says that the Fiji Times reported on a baseless claim that teachers’ positions are in jeopardy which is a false accusation designed by political opponents to sow fear and insecurity among Fiji’s teachers and the public.
He says the newspaper did so without directly citing the very circular that was the crux of their article.
Sayed-Khaiyum says the Ministry is also advertising for new classroom teachers to fill any temporary positions and other vacancies that will be granted substantially higher salaries.
The Minister Responsible for Education states that the Government has been consistent in explaining that all classroom teachers who were being offered long‑term contracts would have those contracts renewed, provided there were no issues with their conduct and performance.
He says all this information is well‑documented; it has been transparently articulated on Government’s road shows, and it could have easily been verified by the newspaper.
NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad had said in a statement that the security of employment of teachers who were forced to enter into contracts that legislated acting appointments for their positions is now in jeopardy as they will not have their acting appointments automatically renewed with revelations that their positions will be advertised.
Prasad said that substantive post holders who were first relegated to a lower rank and then re‑appointed on acting basis to their substantive post despite having served as Principals, Head Teachers and Heads of Department for many years, are now facing an uncertain future due to the draconian civil service reforms.
He says the teaching fraternity has been exploited and held to ransom by the current Government, which forced them to enter into contracts under the pretext of offering them salary increases.
Meanwhile Sayed‑Khaiyum had clarified in August this year that the teachers substantive contracts can be renewed after their 5 year term comes to an end.
He said this will definitely be based on the performance of the teachers.
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