FTU claims 2000 teachers affected

Teachers in the North attend the NSAAC forum in Labasa. Picture LUKE RAWALAI/FILE

THE job evaluation exercise conducted in the Education Ministry has led to the demotion of about 2000 teachers, claims Fiji Teachers Union (FTU) general secretary Agni Deo Singh.

In response to a statement by Attorney-General and Education Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on Tuesday that no teacher had been demoted as a result of the exercise, Mr Singh claimed the union had proof of those who had been given lesser roles after the evaluation exercise.

“There are people with proven performance records who were promoted to these positions earlier on and because of the job evaluation exercise have been demoted,” he said.

“This is another gripe that we have with the job evaluation exercise.

“They (Education Ministry) had conducted the job evaluation exercise and all of those positions that attracted more than 15 per cent salary adjustments upwards were deemed to be vacated.

“They are saying there was no demotion; I am saying 2000 individuals were demoted.

“They have been taken a level lower and they were told to act on those posts again with an allowance and then their posts were advertised and under the new system, merit — as far as we are concerned which is performance on the job — was not even considered at all.

“So we have senior head teachers and senior principals who have totally missed out and they have been effectively demoted because of this system.”

He said the union was inviting the Minister for Education to work with the group in reaching an agreement on the issue.

The FTU held its annual general meeting earlier this week in Nadi where members discussed the impact of the new job evaluation exercise and open merit recruitment system within the education sector.

In his statement, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the new system was fair, merit-based and transparent.

“It was created through consultations with unions, staff, teachers and parents,” the A-G said. “There were no demotions and every teacher received a salary increase.

“It will create better service delivery to Fiji’s schools, and students and teachers will now benefit from responsive and effective human resources support.

“Teachers who break rules or abuse students will be disciplined, while those who succeed in the classroom will be rewarded — already resulting in more high-performing women and young people being appointed to senior positions.

“And, for the first time ever, scholarships have been made available for teachers wishing to upgrade their qualifications by pursuing bachelors and postgraduate degrees in high-need areas.

“Because of these many improvements, teachers throughout Fiji will be empowered to focus wholly on teaching Fijian students.”

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