Negotiations ongoing for special housing loans for teachers
– President Ali
Teachers across the country will benefit from special rates for housing loans, as negotiations with several banks are underway to establish a mechanism offering low-interest rates to facilitate homeownership.
This is according to President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali who made the announcement during an address to the nation on Sunday, highlighting numerous interventions made by the government since 2020 to improve the lives of teachers.
In October of last year, the head of state convened a meeting with headteachers and teachers from eleven education districts, allowing them to deliberate on the state of the education system, identify challenges, and collaborate on implementing solutions.
It was during this gathering that the president initially announced the forthcoming implementation of this system.
“We took it upon ourselves to do these negotiations for our teachers, where they will be able to get loans at 3.5 and four per cent because we will give up the withholding tax on profits so that teachers can be treated specially. These are the things that we are doing,” he said during the live broadcast.
The head of state said teachers are slated to be prime beneficiaries of the nationwide development agenda, explaining that the process will take time.
This assurance comes in light of an illegal strike organised by the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU).
According to the president, the GTU has time and again proven to be unaccountable, and has sought political leverage under the guise of advocating for teachers.
“We will not allow people to be used as political pawns, and that is the situation now. I’m very concerned that the political actors in our society are trying to use our teachers, and I’m using this word very frankly because they are aware that we are committed to a plan in which our teachers will be not only prime beneficiaries of the development and advancement of our country but that their position will be comparable to anywhere else in the region,” he stated.
He reminded that the government has consistently demonstrated its commitment to developing the education sector and boosting the livelihood of the nation’s educators.
In keeping to improve the quality of education delivery, the government is incentivising upskilling, as higher salaries are promised for greater qualifications.
“We had a provision of more than 3,800 scholarships for teachers, to qualify themselves and earn a higher salary, so we are incentivising the system, giving the teachers an opportunity to empower themselves, but at the same time incentivising them to do better for themselves and the teaching system,” President Ali pointed out.
Similarly, adjustments to the salary scales, issuance of allowances for upskilled teachers, and increases in the Remote Areas Incentive (RAI) for hinterland teachers, all align with the general aim of enhancing working and living conditions.
“In addition to the continued issuance of duty-free for teachers, we have increased this, and we have agreed to the granting of a duty-free concession for all senior teachers who have three years left to serve because we do not want a single teacher to leave the system without the benefit of a duty-free,” the president noted.
He also cited the removal of the child development index, the general scheme of work as a curriculum document, the provision of a national scheme of work, and weekly instead of daily preparation of lesson plans.
“All of this was requested by teachers to make their working environment better, to make their life less complicated, to give them more time to focus on student development and their own development,” President Ali reiterated.
He continued, “These are things that demonstrate our commitment to the teachers and every category of worker. We have not completed the menu of measures. This is ongoing work.”
The Guyanese leader urged teachers to exhibit patience and fairness as these interventions are being implemented incrementally.