30 Aug 2005

Students suffering in Tongan strike says top education bureaucrat

8:29 pm on 30 August 2005

Tonga's Director of Education Viliami Takau says students at government schools are suffering the most as hundreds of teachers strike.

Nearly nine hundred teachers are taking part in the public servants strike which has been running for nearly six weeks.

The teachers marched in Nuku'Alofa today (tues) calling for Mr Takau to resign over his response to the strike.

He has removed striking senior staff from school, which has sparked vandalism by students, while he has also suggested all striking teachers should be sacked.

Mr Takau says he would resign if it meant teachers returning to work and class work resuming.

"The impact has been quite devasting as far as students learning and school work is concerned. Theres a lot of kids running around or staying at home so its been a major disruption to the schools normal work programme for the year."

Mr Takau says the ministry has been running extra educational programmes on the radio and the internet.