I know that Dr Roopnaraine, a veteran educationist, is the perfect pick for Minister of Education in this new government. Guyana will make quantum leaps into the twenty-first century under his watch. To this end I herewith ask him to heed the following suggestions:
- Activate the school inspectorate for each region. The inspectors will visit all schools periodically and monitor school rules, security, infrastructure, resources, curriculum, and procedures and practices. They will hold meetings with stakeholders and make recommendations.
- Increase the salary of teachers and add fringe benefits for travelling, housing (in remote areas), health coverage (inclusive of dental and vision).
- Promote teachers on merit not favouritism.
- Equip schools and community libraries with computers (hooked up to the internet), printers and copiers. A nominal fee can be charged for printing and copying.
- Make it mandatory that teachers do not give extra lessons for fees to the same students they teach during normal class hours. It can be a conflict of interest when students are short-changed in day classes. Also, this can place a financial burden on poor parents.
- Activate boards of management in all schools empowered to make recommendations to hire (members should be involved in interviewing applicants), discipline and fire staff. Board members should be elected by the PTA and should include a staff representative and the head teacher and deputy (as ex-officio members). There should be no single politically appointed administrator above the principal.
- Appoint trained counsellors in all schools for behavioural and vocational guidance. Staff should also get counselling when necessary.
- Set up adult literacy classes in core subjects and computer studies for those not in high school and who need upgrading for various reasons.