Personal and professional development To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
January 30, 2002

Apart from the distorted political situation in our country, which is destroying the moral, spiritual, social and economic fabric of our society, we are faced with rampant police abuses, corruption at all levels, slothfulness on the part of public servants (and in may cases downright non-cooperation), and this chronic negativity is robbing our citizens and the nation as a whole of the progress which we otherwise deserve. The fact is that these ills are caused by greed, personal and group prejudices, ignorance in dealing with personal issues, and most of all attempts at satisfying the psychological needs of those whom we expect to deliver the essential services. We can see no evidence that this general malaise is being dealt with by those in authority, and I think it is now clear that this is not because they are unwilling to do so, but because they have been looking for the answers in the wrong direction.

I have long proposed that the only real and permanent solution to our societal aberrations is a concerted programme of education in moral and civic awareness and I would now like to make some concrete proposals for implementation of such an effort.

I am part of a team that has been conducting a course on "Personal and Professional Development" at the various branches of the teachers' training college (C.P.C.E.), with tremendous success, not only in the personal lives of the students themselves, but in the upgrading of the quality of tuition which they impart when they graduate and take up their appointments with their own charges.

We are absolutely certain that this programme, with the necessary adjustments to suit the specific situations, can go a long way towards securing the ethical attributes which must form the basis of the character of public servants if they are to provide the fair and efficient services necessary for our national and societal development.

Some aspects of this programme are:-
Self-knowledge; Building self-esteem; Living by right principles; Value of human life and human dignity; Development and maintenance of various types of relationships; Habit formation; Development of memory; Conflict resolution; Healthy attitudes to work; Good work ethics; Dealing with discrimination; Civic responsibilities; Environmental issues.

These elements could be incorporated into the regular pre-service training programmes of each branch of employees, or dealt with as a part of their in-service developmental strategies at periodic seminars. Our team is ready to cooperate with any agency which can see the merit of this proposition and is willing to implement it.
Roy Paul