(GuyanaChronicle)President Ali, Minister Manickchand express
– outlines support measures for improved work environment
NOTING that government is continuously working to ensure that teachers are given the right environment in which to work, President, Dr Irfaan Ali on World Teachers’ Day observed on Wednesday thanked teachers in Guyana and across the world for their selfless commitment and dedication to their profession.
“I want to thank all my teachers for their love, their commitment, their guidance and the sacrifices they made.
“On behalf of all the children of Guyana I want to thank all the teachers of this beautiful country, and teachers worldwide, for the work that they do and the commitment and sacrifices that they make,” the President said.
World Teachers’ Day, also known as International Teachers Day, is an international day held annually on October 5 to celebrate all teachers around the globe.
It commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 International Labour Organisation/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ILO/UNESCO) Recommendation concerning the status of teachers, setting benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers, and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.
“Over the last two years, we have engaged on a very aggressive platform in improving the welfare of teachers and improving the conditions for teachers. Giving them more opportunities, and giving them an environment in which they can work and [we can] support them in,” the President said.
President Ali shared that he fully understands the challenges teachers face, having come from a background where both of his parents were teachers.
As such, he is personally committed to ensuring the best of working environments and benefits for Guyana’s teachers.
“I know the commitment and the hours that go behind preparing lessons and spending time ensuring that the notes are prepared for teaching.
“It’s not only about the classroom it’s the hours spent preparing the notes and preparing themselves to deliver on the content that must be created for a learning environment,” the President said.
In a video message transmitted on his official Facebook page, the President noted that in addition to working to ensure that teachers have the right working environment, the government has also shown high regard for the development of teachers through a number of scholarships being offered, including through the Guyana Online Learning Academy (GOAL) programme.
Meanwhile, teachers have also benefitted from the expansion of admission at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), Guyana’s teacher training college.
The President pointed out that whereas teachers training at CPCE received stipends of $11,000, the government has moved to instead have all trainees receive full salaries, benefitting from a payment of at least $80,000 per month.
Teachers have also benefitted from the government having rectified the situation whereby incoming teachers were paid based on salaries of the previous year and not allocated salary increases for the present year. Approximately 1,300 teachers have benefitted from this development.
Meanwhile, through the Teachers’ Welfare and Benefits Programme launched by the Ministry of Education in 2021, teachers are also benefitting from a number of welfare benefits including low-cost health and life insurance coverage, a revolving mortgage fund for teachers to access up to $12 million in financing, discounts at over 150 businesses, and the establishment of a Teacher Benevolence Fund.
In noting future measures at which the government is looking, the President noted that every school will see increased clerical support to move teachers away from carrying out those tasks themselves.
“A lot of the teaching time is taken away because of the clerical duties that teachers are burdened with. I’ve instructed the Ministry of Education now to look at every single school and to give every school clerical support, so the burden of record keeping is removed,” the President noted.
Additionally, guidance and counselling officers have been deployed to 86 secondary schools across the country.
Teachers awaiting their permanent teaching certificate since 2016 will also be seeing this issue addressed.
“As of this Monday, we have implemented a policy that will see 1,000 teachers receiving their permanent screening certificate that was backlogged from since 2016.
“I have instructed that by the end of this year, the entire backlog must be cleared so that teachers can have their permanent teacher certificate,” the President informed.
The government is also looking at the establishment of childcare facilities from which teachers can benefit.
This year, World Teachers Day is being celebrated under the theme: “The Transformation of Education Begins with Teachers.”
The President acknowledged that the demands of teachers in today’s modern times is far greater than they were ever before. He noted however that with the aid of technology, teachers are better equipped with more tools to handle the complexity and new challenges of the emerging environment.
For her part, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand expressed to teachers that their dedication has not gone unnoticed.
“Happy Teachers’ Day to this nation’s dedicated teachers. I see you and all you do. I will always hear you and be responsive. I will continue to be your biggest, most committed advocate.
“Together, we will do what you wanted to do when you first signed up to teach. God’s richest blessings and all my love. Today and always,” Manickchand said through her official Facebook page.
Meanwhile, Vice-President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo also offered words to teachers, saying, “Your wisdom, dedication and kindness will always lead us on the right path and inspire us to be better human beings.”