Solomons teachers fight to remove education official
Solomons teachers' association fights for the removal of a key education official with the Honiara City Council.
The Solomon Islands Teachers Association says it is fighting for the removal of a key education official with the Honiara City Council.
SINTA claims Don Houkura was involved in a number of controversial issues when he was the chief education officer for the Council.
Members of SINTA are now threatening to boycott the start of the school year on Monday until Mr Houkura is removed from the City Council.
The industrial relations officer for SINTA, Samson Faisi told Beverley Tse why teachers are unhappy with Don Houkura.
DON HOUKURA: Towards the end of last year when the three national strikes that SINTA took on behalf of all the teachers in the country, we also raised an issue with the Honiara City Council that one of their staff, who is this Don Houkura has been involved in a lot of controversial issues over the past since becoming a chief education officer for Honiara City Council. And then he was supposed to be relieved from his duties last year towards the middle/end of last year but Honiara City Council, they asked [for] his contract to be extended although he already reached the retirement age. They kept holding onto him until he was given his march letters on the 31st of December 2013. And from then onwards he didn't leave the office and remained there until now. And when SINTA started to bring this issue up, the City Council turned around and gave him a new position as the director of education for Honiara City Council schools.
BEVERLEY TSE: So is this about Mr Houkura not retiring when he's supposed to?
DH: Yes, as I've mentioned, since he became the CEO some four years ago, he was allegedly involved in a lot of controversial issues especially to do with posting of teachers. The basic thing here is the posting of teachers of which to our dismay, we have noticed that 50 plus teachers are without posts for this year. And he has been doing that over the years and he hasn't followed proper procedures that applied in the teaching service handbook to do with postings as well as to do with suspension, termination. He did that all by himself as if he was the authority and he became a dictator in that position.
BT: Why do you think the council created this position for him?
DH: They created the position for him because they benefitted from Mr Don Houkura. They used all sorts of excuses to say that they hold onto Houkura because he was the one who designed the five year educational strategic plan of which is all crap and it's all lies.
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