Laparkan rewards committed teachers with novel fund

Guyana Chronicle
May 25, 2001

THE Laparkan Group of Companies will initiate a Teachers Benevolent Fund with $1M to reward teachers who have shown commitment to the profession.

Executive Chairman of Laparkan Mr. Glen Khan made this pronouncement at the company's Teachers Incentive Scheme awards ceremony at the Georgetown Club on Friday evening. There, where 11 teachers were presented with gift vouchers and certificates in recognition of their dedication towards the development of education in Guyana.

While Mr Khan did not go into details regarding this new scheme, he referred to the large number of teachers who are migrating to other countries in search of better salaries. He expressed the hope that the incentive will help teachers reconsider the idea of leaving the country.

Khan urged other businesses to do likewise and the call was echoed by Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) President, Mr. Bertram Hamilton who also acknowledged that Laparkan has always been supportive of teachers.

A similar Benevolent Fund was initiated in the Guyana Police Force and is described as being successful, the Executive Chairman of Laparkan stated.

Executive Director of the company, Mr. Vibert Parvatan, in welcoming remarks at the ceremony, said the presentation is done in a climate "where we have the push and pull factors", also referring to the high level of teacher migration.

Prime Minister Sam Hinds, who was present, remarked that one could not affix a value to the services of teachers who help to mould children in ways that are socially and culturally acceptable.

"No society can develop beyond the level of its teachers. This may be an overstatement because it underscores the fundamental point that the quality of the teaching force is a very important and crucial factor in the process of nation-building," the Prime Minister stated.

He noted this is why Government is putting so much emphasis on education.

"Government is committed to providing a better quality of life for teachers and also restoring dignity and respect to this noble profession," the Guyanese leader said.

The Prime Minister said that the initiative by Laparkan would help to reward teachers, who over the years, helped to develop the education system when others opted to sell their services overseas.

Mr Hinds also emphasised that teachers have a critical role to play in the transition of knowledge. The traditional mode of education delivery based on 'chalk and talk' is now giving way to new approaches and technology which are more learner-friendly, he argued.

The Nursery, Primary and Secondary school tutors of all the Regions - with Georgetown being considered separately - were the recipients of gift vouchers worth $50,000 redeemable at any of Laparkan's outlets.

In order to be eligible for the award, teachers must be employed full time for at least one year by the beginning of the first quarter of the year.

The recipients are Ms Rowena Peters of Region One; Mr. Afmat Ally Nazir - Region Two; Ms Lavern Carryl - Region Three; Ms Pamela Maison - Georgetown; Ms Debra Charles Legall - Region Four; Ms Constance McAlmont - Region Five; Ms Kumarie Ramsammy - Region Six; Mr. Seenauth Jagroo - Region Seven; Ms Karen Forde - Region Eight; Mr. Terrence Brasche - Region Nine; and Mr. Randolph Bayley - Region Ten.

The first presentation of awards was done earlier this year. Under this scheme, teachers who have won quarterly awards are also eligible to win the Teacher of the Year Award, and will receive $1M, at the end of the year.

A teacher is nominated each quarter from each institution to compete for the award.

Teachers are selected based on the following criteria;

* Regularity and punctuality; academic performance of students; efficiency; pursuit of improved learning facilities and opportunities; innovative teaching methods introduced; professional development assistance given to colleagues both intramurally and extramurally; participation in community activities; participation in the affairs of their professional association; integrity, dignity, decorum and being a role model worthy of emulation.

The selection and organising committee is made up of not less than three representatives from the branches of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) within the educational district and two representatives of the Ministry of Education. (STACEY DAVIDSON)