Letters: Talks to address teacher pay

Tuesday January 28, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear editor

The article “Teachers strike is a last resort” (January 18, 2020) is incorrect in stating that I, as Secretary of Education, had been approached for comment but did not respond. Had I actually been approached for comment, I would have provided a response.

 

We value all our teachers. Since September 2019, the Ministry of Education has been in discussions with schools concerning teacher salary and have listened to all concerns.

We have worked with them alongside key agencies to find a workable solution, and this dialogue continues. Our teachers are certainly valued and we will continue to engage with them and principals leading our schools.

As a result of meetings, actions have been implemented to further recognise the added responsibilities teachers have when leading a curriculum area, year group, or when in management positions.

All teachers have the same base salary (band H is $30,846-$41,950) but understandably, for teachers employed from overseas, their packages will have entitlements for accommodation, storage and travel.

We are encouraged by the new government-approved remuneration framework to be rolled out over the next three years. As a result of this framework, the Ministry of Education will receive a salary increase for all employees in the 2021/22 financial year.

This is welcome news but we acknowledge this will not address the parity concerns. Other sustainable options, from within our current budget ceiling, will continue to be discussed collectively.

Although a large portion of our current recruitment round for the 2020 academic calendar was pleasing, with most teaching positions filled for our Rarotonga and Pa Enua schools by Cook Islands and overseas teachers, we are entering the new school year with vacancies.

Naturally this is disappointing, but we remain hopeful that we will continue to connect with quality teachers for the positions that are not yet filled.

Meitaki atupaka.

Danielle Tungane Cochrane
Secretary of Education

·         Editor’s note: We apologise, we did attempt to approach the Education Secretary for comment but mistakenly emailed the wrong address.

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