Chairman and CEO of the Laparkan Group, Glen Khan (right), hands over the cheque to Minister of Education Shaik Baksh in the presence of GTU President Colin Bynoe.
The Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Laparkan Holding Limited re launched the Teacher-of-the-Year Award at a simple ceremony at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) yesterday.
The Laparkan Group contributed $1M towards the project, which will see awards being given out to exceptional teachers later this year at the National Cultural Centre. The winner will receive $500,000 in cash and others will win prizes amounting to $50,000 each.
According to Acting Chief Education Officer, Roopnarine Tewari, the national Teacher- of- the- Year award scheme was first introduced in the late 1990’s. It came to an end in 2003. This end came about because it was noted that there were serious challenges since the process was not entirely transparent and systematic.
The Education Officer further disclosed that the top management of the Ministry of Education was tasked with developing a policy document to implement the National Teachers’ of the Year award. Adding that the task was completed under the Minister of Education, Tewari said, a policy document contains clearly establish criterions to select nominees at each school for each level weather it is nursery, Primary or Secondary for each education district.
He explained that the policy was shared with all the Regional Education Officers and other important stake holders. “We are now fully convinced that the process is objective, transparent, and systematic.”
The Chairman and CEO of the Laparkan Group, Glen Khan said, it is important to recognize the major role that teachers’ played in transforming individuals lives and ultimately society.
“We are hoping that this programme that we have with education, will recognise those teachers that work really hard to provide education at all segments of the Guyanese community.” According to GTU President, Colin Bynoe, often people would rise to certain level and would forget where they came from. However Mr. Glen Khan did not forget; since he admitted that teachers made a difference in his life.
The GTU President added that there are many things that the Laparkan Group has done for teachers and society may not know, for example; teachers enjoy discounts at Laparkan throughout the length and breadth of this country.
Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, said that teachers are the key to the success of Guyana, and our economy cannot be transformed unless the education system improves as a whole at all levels.
Adding that the Education strategic plan was accepted by the Government of Guyana as well as international donor agencies and the World Bank, Baksh said the plan is widely accepted and all the necessary changes have been made to implement that plan to success in the education sector.
The Minister further disclosed that the plan requires dedicated, committed, and professional teachers. “It will not succeed unless we get all of our teachers on board…. all are not on board now.”
Baksh revealed the GTU and the Education Ministry are negotiating toward a mutually agreeable package for teachers. However, work ethics and motivational courses must be priority, and not only the material side of the picture, which is also important.
“We have to change a lot of mindset…the knowledge economy is upon us, the ICT revolution and using the new technology. All of the teachers coming out of the training college with the new teacher improvement project will have to be versed in the new technology as a teaching and learning tool…every single teacher must know how to use the computer to their benefit.”
The Education Minster explained, the system must be incentives, and with the new package coming on board, the Ministry will have to link the incentives to performance. In addition, teachers must be recognised for their roles in society.