Celestina Soares – The Director of the Central Basic School (EBC) in Akadiru-hun, Dili, Mateus Pinto Tilman urged the Public Service Commission (PSC) to encourage teachers aged 60 and upwards to retire so that new teachers can be recruited.
As added this is an issue that needs to be addressed. "We must recruit new teachers but they don't retire and continue teaching. We must address this issue," he said.
In total there 15 teachers at EBC School in Akadiru-Hun, aged 60 or above, 10 women and 5 men. He said sometimes they call in sick or are absent for four or five days and this impacts on students' learning process.
"We cannot force them to retire without an instruction from the Public Service Commission as stated in the law. If they want to retire they must submit their letters of retirement or we must apply the law," he said.
Nevertheless in some instances, retirement-aged teachers have submitted their letters and paperwork but the public services commission has not processed their application.
"I recommend the Public Service Commission to look at teachers aged 60 for retirement and recruit young graduates who are unemployed and train them," he said.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Disciplinary at the Public Service Commission (PSC), Jose Freitas said this issue is being looked at.
"We are preparing the draft decree law for staff mapping that will include certain clauses that state that public servants of retiring age must compulsorily retire," he said.
Currently, he said the law does not clearly states this. It is stated in the preface but not in the law so it cannot be applied so the Public Service Commission cannot enforce it.
Teachers of retiring age can voluntarily submit their retirement letter but it is not mandatory. "If we just apply it, we will go against existing regulations," he said.
He added the Public Service Commission is not considering the issues of retirement and pension entitlements.
"We have talked to the Public Service Commission, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Social Solidarity to consider this issue because it is difficult to manage the funds needed," he said.
He said the commission is looking at the issue of teachers aged 60 and above still working but the commission will not be able to act without a clear order.