President Dr Irfaan Ali has commenced consultations with teachers, meeting with Head Teachers and Deputy Head Teachers at State House on Monday where he listened to their suggestions about how government can improve their welfare.
One of the main takeaways from the open discussion was that teachers preferred to have tax-free allowances as opposed to an increase in salary, which is taxed.
Meanwhile, teachers from the hinterland schools spoke about the challenges affecting the delivery of education in such far-flung communities, citing issues such as lack of educators, undesirable accommodation, and distance/transportation challenges.
“We walk for 45 minutes to reach to the school…it is very far…the place is very hot…we and our students would have to walk from our home to our school,” a teacher from the Kato Secondary School shared.
To this, President Ali suggested that stakeholders work on a mechanism whereby teachers can become owners of vehicles in order to get to school in a more efficient manner.
Moreover, he said in November this year, some 2,300 trained teachers will be graduating and this will aid in filling the gap when it comes to lack of trained educators, not just in the hinterland but countrywide.
Meanwhile, President Ali also committed to addressing the housing needs of teachers. He said the government can make interventions to help teachers who already have an allocation but are struggling to secure loans/financing to pursue development of their properties.
Additionally, he said the government can explore solutions for teachers who have applications in the system prior to 2019.
The consultations are currently in progress.