Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Teachers receive comprehensive benefit package

-Union hails agreement as”giant leap forward”

Teachers are set to receive a comprehensive benefit package, including a 5% increase in salaries retroactive to the start of this year, in a five-year deal reached yesterday between the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and the Ministry of Education.

Colin Bynoe, the President of the GTU, hailed the package as a giant leap forward for teachers at a time when several governments, including those in the Caribbean, are cutting back.

The 5% increase in salaries will be effective for five years, including this year. But it was more than the increase in salaries that the Union was excited about.

Minister of Education Shaik Baksh said that the benefit package includes a scholarship programme for teachers and will give priority to those who want to pursue Mathematics and Science.

Bynoe said that this scholarship programme was important as it will help to provide an incentive for teachers not only to improve their education, but to stay in Guyana, thus reducing the need to employ Mathematics and Science teachers from outside the country.

Minister Baksh said that it is the government’s intention to have 90% of teachers trained by the end of 2015 and as their education level improves, so will their remuneration. He added that the Ministry is encouraging teachers to pursue studies at the Post Graduate level.

The Union was particularly excited about one of the clauses in the agreement that would seek to correct the irregularities with teachers’ salaries, whereby a teacher who had just entered the system receives the same pay as a teacher who would have been serving for 10 years or so.

As a result, $50 million has been set aside to address the issue in the interim.
The package of duty-free concessions for teachers is also slated to be expanded. Currently, only certain categories of head teachers are allowed duty-free concessions to buy a vehicle, but Baksh said other categories of teachers are being earmarked for inclusion.

Teachers are also set to receive an increase in their uniform allowance from $6,000 to $8,000.
Baksh announced movement with discussions to increase home-ownership opportunities for teachers who particularly need.

The President of the Union noted while teachers have to “line up” and apply for house lots as everyone else does, 100 house lots will be set aside to be allocated to teachers every year. These, the Education Minister added, will be given to teachers with pressing needs in all regions of the country. These teachers will be determined by the Union.

In addition, a revolving housing fund for teachers could kick in by May 31. The Fund currently stands at $200 million, but Baksh said $40 million will be added every year over the next five years. Teachers would be able to access the Fund to build their own homes.

In an effort to encourage more teachers to move to the Hinterland, a comprehensive package includes a $30,000 per month housing grant, and a travel allowance for teachers, their spouses and children under age 18 to travel to the Coast every term on a return trip. They are also provided with additional benefits that come with the Remote Teacher’s Incentive scheme.


  1. Has to help the situation in the education system involving teachers the ministry of education and the the teachers union signed a well comprehensive packages which well be benefited to teachers for the next five yrs.This agreement was well praised by the union.

  2. This package will not only benefit the teachers but it will benefit the country as will see more teacher reaming in Guyana to continue there studies.