— Teachers will benefit from special loans and building materials for homes
His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali announced today that existing anomalies affecting teachers paid below their minimum salary scales will be amended this month.
The Head of State made the announcement during a large meeting with teachers from across Guyana at State House, where he also announced that at least two commercial banks will prequalify and approve loans for teachers to start building and or to continue building their homes at a special interest rate once they have been allocated house lots.
The meeting was attended by hundreds of teachers including head teachers, deputy head teachers, heads of departments and representatives from the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU).
The payment this month will be a one-off arrears payment for eligible teachers between the period of September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2023, which according to the President, will amount to over $700m.
During his address, the Head of State also announced that he contacted two commercial banks today, which indicated their willingness to work along with the teachers for loans of up to $15m at an interest rate of 3.75%.
Banks had reduced their rates to accommodate the construction boom in the country, but never at this rate at a $15m ceiling.
To lend further assistance, the President said that teachers who are yet to commence construction will receive subsidies from the Government for steel and cement to build their foundations.
He also encouraged the teachers who were there, to voice their concerns. Among the issues raised, included infrastructure development for schools and other educational facilities, allowance increases and human resource development.
The President added that while some of the issues will be immediately addressed, within the next two weeks there will be discussions with Cabinet and other stakeholders on some of the proposals and issues raised. He stressed that his Government’s approach will be addressing the issues and proposals holistically to ensure that the welfare of both teachers and students is prioritised.
“Now that I have a full understanding directly from you as to what your priorities are, I am now in a better position to come up with a holistic approach to how we deal with the welfare of teachers and students together.”
The issue of a shortage of teachers at some schools was also raised, to which the President explained that the 2,300 newly trained teachers graduating this year from the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) will be added to the country’s teaching pool.
After the meeting, the President praised the teachers for the way they represented the interests of school children.
“I’m really pleased with the way you represented not your interests, but represented the nation’s children’s interests… I think it is under this type of umbrella consultation and mechanism that we get the best out of each other.” Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, the Honourable Dr Ashni Singh; Minister of Education, the Honourable Priya Manickchand and Minister of Labour, the Honourable Joseph Hamilton were also at the meeting