Too Many Untrained Teachers

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Dear Editor

The following are extracts from SN’s report of Thursday, January 27, 2022:

“The Government earmarked a total of $74.4 billion for the educational                sector in the 2022 national budget.” “During his budget speech the Minister with responsibility for    Finance…. explained that the planned initiatives are aligned with the         new Education Strategic Plan for the period 2021 to 2025; which was  launched by the Government last year”

“The Minister also said the expansion and reformation of teacher training would continue at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and he noted that $200 million has been allocated to provide financial support to “trainee teachers”.

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“CPCE saw its largest graduating batch with 843 students and an enrollment of over 3000 in 2021”

It is against this background that one observes the following announcement in Stabroek News of Monday 16th May:  “The Ministry of Education (MOE) on Friday advised all untrained teachers in the system to immediately enroll at the Cyril Potter College of Education…

  1. ”Failure to enroll may result in the Ministry’s inability to continue employment of the persons failing”
  2. “Criterion requiring the employment of in-service  teachers for one year before entering the CPCE has been withdrawn”(presumably without reference to the aforementioned ‘Strategic Plan).

One is next left to wonder whether the following have been forewarned:

a)            Heads of schools

b)            In-service teachers

c)            Cyril Potter College of Education

d)            Guyana Teachers’ Union

e)            Teachers Service Commission (previously withdrawn)

f)             Parent/ Teachers’ Associations

All ten Regions are affected. It is not known how many branches they are of the CPCE. Nevertheless, the peremptory notice takes no account of the domestic responsibilities of these (married/single) ‘untrained’ teachers; and what would be individually required economically and socially to meet this imperious demand – an implicit breach of employment contract that could be subject to challenge, and possible compensation – a matter on which the colleague Minister of Labour should be asked to advise, just in case any teacher is related to an Attorney-at-Law.

In the meantime, one wonders whether:

  1. Provision was made in the 2022 budget for compensating the (unlicensed) teachers;

ii) Which of the following budgeted positions will be affected: Teacher Aide;Acting Teacher; Pupil TeacherI/II; Temporary Unqualified Teacher, Temporary Qualified Master III/II; Non-Graduate Senior Assistant Master, Non-Graduate Senior Master; Untrained Graduate Master

iii) For which of the following positions must they apply to be appointed on graduation: Trained Teacher; Head of Department; Graduate Deputy Head, Graduate Head?

iv)  Who will be appointed to fill the ‘Untrained’ vacancies?

v) How does one address the fundamental contradiction long established, of say, the ‘Permanent’ employment of ‘Temporary” appointees mentioned above.

The more fundamental challenge to be addressed must be a restructuring of the archaic job hierarchy, following the ‘immediate’ extinction of Teachers Aide;Acting Teacher, Pupil Teacher I/II; Temporary Unqualified Teacher.

Again the question must be posed whether such reconstruction was included in the touted Strategic Plan. This is a critical opportunity for the Ministry to partner with the Guyana Teachers Union (preferably under the aegis of the Teachers Service Commission). A most comprehensive compensation restructuring is required. Who was it that said that ‘common sense’ is the rarest sense of it all?

Regards

Conscientious Observer



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