Dear Editor,

The article titled ‘Local Skills Shortage’ in the Daily Post on Saturday 31 October highlighted the consequences of systemic failure in the education system within Vanuatu.

Yes, “Yumi 40” but we still can’t educate and train enough young people to meet the basic needs of the key professions of teaching and nursing!

More sadly, the crisis is far greater than what the article suggested. In education, for example, there are approximately 1,500 ‘community teachers’ that don’t appear on the government’s list of unfilled positions.

These ‘community teachers’ are paid by the community, not the government, and they teach in government and government assisted schools throughout the country.

Despite having no training and few skills many of them teach multiple classes and without them many schools would simply not function.

The Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education (VITE) will not produce graduates for at least another four years and the gap between available, qualified teachers and the number of teachers required to meet the needs of this generation is now so great that the VITE has no hope of ever producing adequate graduates, even at full capacity.

The problem is simply out of control.

But where is the leadership needed to address this crisis? The government currently pays less than 60% of the teachers within the country.

Instead of training and employing more teachers, the government has recently announced that they will spend additional funds on doubling severance pay!

Is there any Minister that can explain the unfathomable logic behind that decision? The children of Vanuatu need more than a thousand competent teachers now, not additional retirement funds for those public servants who have spent forty years creating the current crisis.

Is there a leader who cares about the future of this generation of children?

Tony Batten

Pikinini Playtime

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