A good scheme

Stabroek News
May 29, 2001

The Laparkan Group of Companies must be congratulated for implementing a Teacher Incentive Scheme in January this year. The scheme rewards exceptional teachers who are committed to the development of education. It comprises eleven quarterly awards with each teacher receiving a gift voucher worth $50,000. At the end of the year, a teacher of the year selected from previous awardees will receive $l million.

All teachers whether nursery, primary or secondary in each education district are eligible to compete. They must have been employed for at least one year by the beginning of the quarter. A teacher is nominated each quarter from each institution. The nominee is arrived at from a poll of teachers. The votes are counted and given to the head teacher. The name is then submitted to a Convener of the Selection Committee. This is made up of not less than three representatives from branches of the Guyana Teachers Union within the educational district and two representatives of the Ministry of Education.

Selection is based on criteria that include regularity and punctuality, academic performance of the students taught by that teacher, innovative teaching methods, professional development assistance given to colleagues both intramurally and extramurally, participation in community activities, participation in the affairs of their professional association, and integrity, dignity, decorum and being a role model worthy of emulation.

At a time when teachers are continuing to emigrate to Botswana and elsewhere this is an imaginative and worthwhile scheme. It is fully supported by government and the union and is the kind of scheme other large companies should consider instituting. Laparkan had earlier pioneered such a scheme for the police force. At a time when both the quality of education and policing have been much criticised these are the sort of practical schemes that can help to motivate teachers and policemen, both badly underpaid.

There are many unsung heroes in the teaching profession who have been soldiering on with no recognition under the most difficult conditions. Hopefully, some of them will benefit from this scheme and from other progressive schemes of this type. Other companies might consider offering say a special quarterly award for the best science teacher and the best English teacher in the nation based on similar criteria. Laparkan, in responding so generously to an approach from the Guyana Teachers Union has shown the way with this progressive scheme.