13 Jul 2006

Tonga's teachers take the strain after 200 colleagues made redundant

6:56 pm on 13 July 2006

More details are emerging of the impact on education services of around two hundred teachers taking redundancy in Tonga.

The government over the past two weeks has paid redundancies to nearly a thousand public servants as it tries to cope with an economic crisis.

The teachers were included in the payouts despite the Public Servants Association warning that service delivery would be badly affected if they went before the end of the school year.

Our correspondent in Nuku'Alofa, Mateni Tapueluelu, says some teachers report class sizes increasing dramatically - one now has 70 pupils.

He says teachers are also providing catch up classes into the evening.

"They have to go to extra classes after school, finishing off eight o'clock at night. But during these hours the teachers are not paid. There is no overtime for that, and they are saying there is more obligation with less money and they don't know how they will function like this in the future."

Mateni Tapueluelu.