I wonder, out of the 364 teachers at the recently held convocation of the Teachers’ Training College, how many were really listening to the wise words of the person who delivered the charge that is supposed to take them through their teaching vocation. I wonder, too, how many teachers out of that amount would remain on these shores to serve this great land of their birth. This is certainly one of the largest batches of trained Grade 1 Class 1 teachers the college has churned out to the education system in a very long time. But where have all the thousands of graduates generated by CPCE over its nearly 100 years of existence gone? They have migrated, of course, to better conditions and salaries overseas, even right in our Caribbean backdoors. Justice Carl Singh always has wise words for teachers, as he has delivered numerous charges to graduands in years past. He charged me and some 200 plus graduands to love the children we teach, the bright ones, the dull ones, the rich ones, the poor ones—love the job we do as teachers and nation builders.
But it is quite worrying that children are not having male role models in their lives. Only 16% of the graduates of CPCE this year are males. And that’s how the story goes every year. The school environment is no different place. But this is having a negative effect on society. While males are seeking higher paying jobs in other sectors, children in schools are finding it hard to come to grips with missing male figures in the school system. Children, especially boys, need males who they can look up to and model their lives after.
As a result, males have not been holding authoritative positions in the education sector as well. I believe all of the Regional Education Officers of the ten districts are females, most of the officers in those districts are females, most head teachers across the land are females, and most of the officials within the education ministry are females as well. While women can be just as effective school and education managers as their male counterparts, it is essential in any society, that males be visible figures within the education sector. But first, they must begin with a vocation in teaching.
Finally, I would like to applaud top graduating teacher in the land, Hamant France, firstly for being the first male in a long time to top the training college, and for giving his support to corporal punishment in schools. I believe this teacher knows what he is talking about and why he is supportive of the use of that form of punishment in schools. The naysayers who often flood these columns with their arguments against corporal punishment all need a reality check. They are out of touch with today’s society, more so school children are fast becoming: indisciplined and rebellious members of society.
That has resulted from the almost non-existent corporal punishment in many schools. Many head teachers are to be blamed for not using the punishment as stipulated in the Ministry of Education discipline manual. While the current laws cater for the use of this punishment, only some are using it, therefore change is impossible. At a time when parental involvement in their children’s education is at a standstill, teachers are left with the burden to be judge, jury and executioner in many instances. We carry immense workloads not to mention having to deal with children’s misbehaviours and maladjustments every single school day. Those who feel it know it. Those who don’t know should stay quiet. Long live Guyana’s hardworking and passionate teachers.
Leon Jameson Suseran