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No place for teachers engaged in sexual misconduct; committed ones must be trained, retrained- Granger

President David Granger (centre) with recipients of awards from the Guyana Teachers’ Union.

President David Granger Tuesday night said teachers involved in sexual activity with their students have no place in the profession and committed teachers must be trained and re-trained as part of a strategy to improve the quality of education.

Addressing a Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) awards ceremony held at the Georgetown Club, he said teachers who misbehave, walk off the job, touch, fondle and have sexual relations with their students and speak in a vulgar manner. “Some teachers, trained or not, behave in such a manner that perhaps the best thing is for them to be separated from the profession,” he said.

Other “disturbing charges,” he said that the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) has leveled against many teachers are inappropriate behaviours with their male and female students. “Such conduct has no place in the education system that this country needs if we are to move forward,” said Granger.

The President hoped that training and retraining teachers who are committed to the profession would help to bring an end to such misconduct. He alluded to figures from the TSC that show that between 2009 and 2015, teachers were being dismissed at a rate of about 150 annually.

With a significant number of teachers no longer in the education system for administrative and disciplinary reasons, the retirement of about 70 and the resignation of 65 annually, Granger said government has to examine how teachers are being recruited into the system.  The Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) has been producing more than 500 teachers annually between 2011 and 2014, but Guyana loses more than half for various reasons and so they do not fulfill their dreams.

Granger noted that 1,700 untrained teachers have been recruited between 2012 and 2015, eve as a larger number of trained teachers have been leaving.  He said there was no place for untrained teachers in the education system in the same way as untrained doctors and pilots are unacceptable. “When we think of recruitment, that first step- we need to think of career teachers- people who will remain in the system and would want to be trained in order to fulfill the requirements of their profession,” said Granger who was made an honorary member of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU).

The President promised to work with the Ministry of Education and GTU to ensure that the working conditions of teachers are improved each year to motivate, empower and enable them in moulding the nation. In this regard, he suggested that the retirement age of 55 years be increased after consultations with the union.

He encouraged the GTU to submit memoranda to the Public Service Commission of Inquiry to help improve the conditions of work by consensus.