AFC lashes out at Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand
The Alliance For Change is alarmed by the reprehensible, callous and uncaring attack on teachers by the Minister of Education the Honourable Priya Manickchand.
The Kaieteur News of Thursday May 31st reports Minister Manickchand as telling teachers “if you don’t like the salary, quit”. The AFC views this damning assault and latent threat to the hundreds of hard working teachers nationwide as disgusting, demeaning and wholly unacceptable.
The Honourable Minister Manickchand’s comments are a clear indication that she, sitting on her privileged plump perch (which is in large measure subsidised by the hard working and tax remitting public servants of this nation including teachers) is divorced from the realities of Guyana. That the Honourable Minister would advise teachers to quit if they have legitimate grouses with their grossly inadequate salaries suggests that she believes that jobs are widely available in Guyana and that teachers can simply end their engagements with the Ministry of Education and walk into another profession or pursue other professional opportunities.
The AFC wishes to issue a wake-up call to the patently misguided Minister Manickchand that Guyana’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the region and that jobs have become increasingly scarce under the PPP administration.
The Honourable Minister seems oblivious to the oppression and hardships which the policies of the PPP regime have caused on the ordinary working people of our nation.
The Honourable Minister also appears to be unmindful of and insensitive towards the cry of the people as it regards the added burden to their lives caused by the cruelly high rate of Value Added Tax.
Moreover when the substandard salaries of teachers are compared with some of the offensive super salaries being doled out to favourites of the regime (what amounts to squadermania of the nation’s resources) the minister’s comments become even more vile and disturbing.
Further, that the Minister would make this brazen declaration in Berbice multiplies the insult as the unemployment rate in Berbice is known to be higher than in most other parts of the country.
Minister Manickchand ought to be reminded that in many instances teachers serve their students out of an abiding love for the development of the young people of our nation and do so in difficult circumstances which the PPP administration has been lethargic in properly addressing even after two decades in government.
Many of our teachers too, are involved in the profession as they see it as their calling in
life. Despite a plethora of better opportunities overseas they have chosen to remain in Guyana and daily labour to educate our children while eeking out a living on menial salaries condemning many of them to a life of poverty.
And what do they get when they are afforded an opportunity to raise the difficulties of their circumstances with their Minister? Abuse and condemnation rather than thanks and support. Instead of bringing relief and hope to our teachers Minister Manickchand delivers humiliation, despondence and disheartenment.
One wonders whether the Minister has exorcised from her memory that she herself is the product of numerous committed and resolute teachers from her formative years until adulthood.
This behaviour from a member of cabinet and a PPP member of parliament adds to the mountain of evidence daily accumulating before the nation of how the minority PPP regime prefers to treat with the people of Guyana on bread and butter matters.
At a consultation forum meant to allow the minister to glean from the professionals who are on the frontlines of educating our future generations these hardworking, underpaid and often ignored teachers come in for a tongue lashing and public humiliation from their subject minister. This, the AFC reiterates, is reprehensible and nauseating.
It is reported too that the minister boldly and bizarrely went on to pronounce that teachers who observed malnourished students in the classroom should provide these students with a snacks. What the Minister failed to do is identifying how these already financially challenged teachers and the under-funded education system should procure these snacks.
The AFC has taken notice of the increasing belligerence with which this once compassionate minister now executes her mandate as a servant to the nation and calls on her to reflect on her new found approach in general and her most recent statements in particular.
Further on behalf of the teachers of this nation the AFC demands an unqualified apology from the Minister for her distasteful and misplaced attack on the noble profession of teaching.
Finally the AFC stands unwaveringly with our dedicated teachers as they contend with difficult circumstances imposed upon them by the uncaring minority PPP regime to educate our children. The AFC supports our teachers and thanks them for their dedication and service to the nation. -ENDS-