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Indonesian archbishop rants against 'lazy' teachers in Papua

Archbishop Mandagi claims dozens of teachers at remote schools in one district are claiming pay but not doing any teaching

Sacred Heart Archbishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Merauke is angry at what he says is a lack of oversight by education authorities in remote schools in his archdiocese

Sacred Heart Archbishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Merauke is angry at what he says is a lack of oversight by education authorities in remote schools in his archdiocese. (Photo: Katharina R. Lestari/UCA News)

Published: June 07, 2022 02:48 AM GMT

Updated: June 07, 2022 03:54 AM GMT

An Indonesian archbishop has demanded that education chiefs in Christian-majority Papua province explain why many teachers in a remote district are not turning up to teach in schools.

Dozens are staying away from schools in Merauke district without having given any valid reason, according to Sacred Heart Archbishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Merauke. 

“I visited Catholics in Kimaam and Ilwayab subdistrict between May 16-20 and many people complained to me that many teachers were not teaching when they were supposed to be,” he said on June 6.

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He said he had received many complaints from local people who said that in some cases children were not being taught at all. 

Many remote elementary schools in the district only have a couple of teachers, but parents were complaining they were not at schools and were either fishing in rivers or moonlighting in Merauke city, according to the archbishop.

“What’s going on? Where are these teachers? As I understand it, they are still drawing a salary every month," the prelate said.

“Education appears to be being destroyed because teachers are too lazy to teach their students"

According to the Education, Culture, Research and Technology Ministry, the district has 318 schools from elementary to senior high schools, with more than 100 schools located in remote areas.

Judging by what he had been told, Archbishop Mandagi estimated dozens of teachers were not doing their jobs.  

“I have asked the regent of Merauke to warn local educational authorities to take action because they are not supervising these teachers,” Archbishop Mandagi told UCA News.

He said education is vital for people’s futures so if the service is poor, this doesn't bode well for the young people of Papua. “Education appears to be being destroyed because teachers are too lazy to teach their students," he said.

The archbishop said he has asked the vicar general of his archdiocese to check on all teachers in local Catholic schools. “Any found wanting will be dismissed because we need teachers who are fully committed," he said.

He called on the local educational authority to make regular visits to remote schools to make sure standards are being met. 

Romanus Mbaraka, the regent of Merauke, admitted the management of remote schools could be better. He said he would address the problem in light of the archbishop’s comments.

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