The government is putting steps in place to support special housing loans for teachers, the president Irfaan Ali declared on Monday. At State House, the president’s official house in Georgetown, the news was made. To discuss teacher concerns, the President called a special meeting with head teachers and their deputies.
President Ali stated that a meeting with the banks will take place within the next two weeks and that the instructors will be invited.
According to President Ali, preferential rates will be offered to teachers who have been awarded land but are unable to build because they have trouble getting financing.
And for those teachers who have already started building, President Ali added that they will be assisted with building materials such as steel and cement for their foundation.
“I can ask the CEO (Chief Education officer) to check for all the teachers who would have had an allocations made to them but they do not have the bank loan – or the bank is giving them a hard time – and we will deal with that as a category,” President Ali said.
“We bring those teachers together (and) I bring the bank in the same room with them and we do one exercise where we have the bank approve all the loans on one day and we negotiate that,” the President stated.
The consultation with teachers was promised by President Ali in his bid to determine how the education sector and the lives of teachers can be improved.
A plethora of other issues were outlined by the teachers including the need for better accommodation for teachers, especially those in the hinterland, more qualified teachers and staff, access to internet and transportation for hinterland schools, salary adjustments and overcrowding in schools.
“We are going to complete the infrastructure audit of all the schools and all the education facilities, including the recreation facilities, across the country so we will have a gap analysis as to what has to be done and prioritize where we are going to definitely address those issues,” President Ali said.
“In every schools where there is overcrowding we are going to work on that as priority to give extension to those schools in the new budget process,” the President stated.
Additionally, the teachers said there is a need for reading specialists in schools and facilities for special needs children.
In response to the lack of human resources, President Ali informed those gathered that he was informed by Minister of Education that in November this year, 2,300 teachers will be graduating.
These teachers, he said will be dispatched to schools across the country.
Some teachers also raised concerns about poor infrastructure and ventilation in light of the recent hot temperature, which has been affecting the learning pace of children.
“Fans, white board everything will be provided,” President Ali responded.
In terms of internet access, President Ali ordered during the meeting that officials from the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) were summoned to meet with the head teachers and deputies to fix the problem immediately
After listening to the thirty-five issues raised by the head teachers and deputies, President Ali said in the coming weeks he will be holding discussions with the Cabinet.
And thereafter, the Head of State said they will come up with proposals to address the issues and meet the demands of the sector to make ensure everyone is comfortable.
“Now that I have a full understanding directly from you…I am in a better position to come up with a holistic approach as to how we will deal with the welfare of students and teachers together,” President Ali said.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton and Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh were also present at the meeting.