Oct 03, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – President Irfaan Ali announced on Monday that special arrangements will be made to facilitate housing loans for teachers.
The President was at the time engaging with headteachers and teachers representing eleven education districts at State House on Main Street, Georgetown. He stated that within two weeks, an activity will be organised during which banks will be invited to approve loans, on the spot for teachers who have already been allocated a piece of land.
“What I can ask the CEO to do for me now is to check in the entire school system to see all the teachers who would have had an allocation made to them for a piece of land but they don’t have the bank loan or the bank is giving them a hard time. “We will get the list of teachers; we will tell you all that you have to walk with…so we get everything pre-approved,” he said.
President Ali noted that he reached out to the banks to work along with teachers to prequalify and approve them for loans for up to $15 million with an interest rate of 3.75 per cent. The teachers will have the option to choose one of the designs from the different categories offered by the Ministry of Housing and Water in order to fast track the process.
“If you want to use that design you can save that cost…we will try to expedite the approval [for the plans] at the NDC [Neighbourhood Democratic Council] level,” the president further stated.
For teachers who have begun construction on their allocated lands, President Ali stated that construction materials, including steel and cement, will be provided, while teachers who submitted applications before 2019 will also be engaged.
The engagement provided teachers with an opportunity to discuss the state of the education system, addressing both the challenges and the positive interventions that are in effect.
Importantly, it also focused on how the government can develop a holistic strategy to improve teachers’ welfare. Among the 35 issues raised by educators were overcrowding at schools, the need for additional teaching staff, improved infrastructure, including better living quarters for teachers and other essential teaching resources needed to improve learning.
President Ali announced that in November of this year, 2,300 teachers will be graduating and will be integrated into the education system. Regarding infrastructure issues, President Ali stated that the government is conducting a comprehensive infrastructure audit of all schools, education facilities, and recreation facilities nationwide to determine what the needs are. “So, we will have a gap analysis as to what has to be done and prioritise where we are going to definitely address those issues,” he said.
He further assured that in every overcrowded school, addressing the issue would be a top priority, with plans to provide extensions in the new budget cycle. Fans, whiteboards, and other necessary supplies will be provided to schools, while internet access issues will be promptly tackled by the National Data Management Authority (NDMA).
Meanwhile, all teachers’ quarters and dorms in the hinterland that are in need of upgrades will be addressed.
President Ali stated that all the issues raised by the teachers have been documented, and in the coming weeks, these concerns will be presented to the Cabinet. Proposals will be formulated, and steps will be taken toward implementation. “Now that I have a full understanding directly from you as to what your priorities are, 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,” he underscored. Joining President Ali were Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, Senior Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and senior officers within the Ministry of Education. (DPI)
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