Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Guyana (UG), Professor Ivelaw Griffith on Wednesday encouraged teachers to do their jobs for the passion and not the pay, moments after a teacher took to the stage of the National Cultural Centre to complain, in the form of poetry, of the salary increases Government has announced.
Professor Griffith was at the time giving the feature address of the Education Ministry’s Regional Award Ceremony in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), which was held under the theme ‘Recognizing and Celebrating our Achievements’.
“Teachers whether at the Primary or Secondary or University (levels) don’t get paid enough but we don’t do it just for the pay we do it for the passion, for the motivation, for the incentivizing of youth development,” he said.
His comments on educators’ salaries came just after a teacher performed her poem, calling out Government for their small increases while raising the cost of living in other areas.
In fact, the emotional Vice Chancellor even made teachers across the auditorium of the National Cultural Centre hold hands with their colleagues and students while reciting, among other things, that even though they may not get paid enough money as a teacher, they should endeavour to be excellent.
Meanwhile, 98 awards were handed out to teachers, students and pupils who performed well over the past year at the National Grade Two. Four and Six Examinations. Teachers were rewarded in the area of music and Athletics among others.
A special stalwart teacher Ms. Francesca Vieira was also paid tribute to for her years of dedicated service in the Education Ministry.
The event was attended by the Regional Education Officer (ag), Tiffany Favourite-Harvey, the Regional Chairman, Genevieve Allen and other Executives from the Ministry, along with teachers and students from various schools across the Region.
The Government recently announced that persons earning less than $100,000 a month will receive a seven per cent increase.
The circular issued by the Finance Ministry with regards to the salaries makes it clear that the increases do not apply to teachers, University of Guyana employees, Government Ministers and Members of Parliament.
It does, however, apply to the Disciplined Services, including the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force.
Nonetheless teachers, after years of back and forth with Government and their union, will be receiving a 12 per cent increase on their salaries for 2016 and eight per cent for 2018.
Their union had initially proposed a 40 per cent increase for teachers in their multi-year agreement.