By Anish Chand
New permanent secretary for Education, Alison Burchell has implemented some new guidelines for teachers who wish to travel overseas.
This includes the mandatory approval of all overseas leave by her office.
In a circular to all heads of schools, Burchell says since taking office, she has noticed applications for overseas leave arrive at Marela House in the last minute.
“Officers depart for overseas before it is granted,” she writes.
Burchell says this is contrary to procedure and disciplinary action can be taken.
Under the new guidelines, Ministry staff who wish to travel overseas must submit their application for approval 21 days before departure.
“Teachers should get this leave approval before applying for a visa,” Burchell says.
Heads of schools have also been given powers to ascertain if they want a teacher to be released for overseas travel.
“When making a recommendation on whether a teacher should be allowed to go on leave overseas, please consider the impact on your school and on the students and if you do not support the leave application, please indicate with reasons,” says Burchell.
School heads are being told to only release teachers from school duties once leave approval has come from Suva.
Teachers are reminded that its compulsory to attend the student free days before the opening of a new term.
“Upon return of the staff from overseas leave, school heads need to notify the headquarters,” says Burchell.