– charges Commissioners not to take responsibility lightly
After months of delays, the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) is now being reconstituted with the swearing-in of five new members on Friday – a move that has now paved the way for the appointment and promotion of teachers within the public education system.
The five new members of the TSC who took their Oath of Office before President Dr Irfaan Ali at the Office of the President (OP)were: Maydha Persaud, Doodmattie Singh, Joan Monkhouse, Shafiran Bhajan and Mohammed Saddam Hussain.
Two other members, Avril Crawford and Satti Jaiserriesing who had prior commitments on Friday will be sworn-in at a later date.
The Commission will have a lifespan of three years with its Chairperson and Deputy Chair being elected after the body is fully constituted. Further, the TSC Chairperson, Deputy Chair and one other member will be full-time members.
The TSC is in charge of appointing, disciplining and removing teachers when necessary.
During brief remarks, President Ali charged the newly sworn-in members of the Commission to take their responsibilities seriously.
“The functions entrusted to the Commission must therefore not be taken lightly. I encourage you to be faithful to that oath. Your actions will contribute to no small measure in ensuring that the teaching profession is populated by persons that are worthy of educating the present and future generations,” he stated.
The Guyanese Leader further underscored the importance of teachers to Guyana’s education system.
“Teachers are the backbone of our education system. They’re responsible for molding the minds of our children, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and the right attitude, readying them for higher education and for their varied roles in society,” he said.
Therefore, the Head of State posited that teachers are not only indispensable to the education system but vital to the fashioning of responsible citizenship. He added that since teachers have a defining role in society, it is necessary that great care and attention are taken in making appointments to the profession.
On this note, President Ali said that the Teaching Service Commission will have vital role to play in ensuring that the right persons are placed in the classroom to teach the country’s future generations.
“Placing ill-qualified and ill-suited persons to educate our children can be disastrous to our children’s future and the human resource development of the country. It’s equally necessary that within the teaching profession, appointments and promotions are dispensed in a fair and just manner,” the Guyanese Leader contended.
In order for the country’s children to benefit from high quality education, he went onto say that such appointments and promotions must be based on merit and be void of favouritism, cronyism and nepotism.
Equally essential to this, according to the President, is that disciplinary actions against teachers be judicious, fair and in conformity of due process including provisions of the laws of Guyana.
He further contended that the establishment of the Teaching Service Commission was intended to insulate appointments, promotions and disciplining of teachers from any political interference or influence.
“Through the exercise of its mandate, the Teaching Service Commission makes a vital contribution to enhancing professionalism within the teaching profession. By ensuring fairness in appointments, the Commission encourages teachers to pursue rewarding careers with the expectation that they will not be discriminated against or treated unfairly,” the Head of State stressed.
President Ali concluded by wishing the newly sworn-in TSC members an impactful tenure as Commissioners.
The life of the previous Teaching Service Commission came to an end last year after being appointed in 2018. The members of that Commission included Avril Crawford, Alan Munroe, Elizabeth Ramlall, Amjad Ali Shaw, Debra Thomas, and Barbara Thomas-Holder with the Chief Education Officer as an ex-officio member.
Back in May, President Ali and Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton had met for the first time and agreed to consult on the appointments of the TSC along with several other bodies including the Police Service Commission, Integrity Commission, and the Judicial Service Commission. This was in keeping with the Constitution, which stipulates that “meaningful consultation” be held on these appointments.
However, Norton had failed to show up to subsequent meetings with the Head of State, who went ahead and swore in the members of the Police Service Commission and the Integrity Commission.
The Opposition Leader then filed legal action in the High Court to challenge the appointments of these two Commissions, over claims that the President did not consult with him. He was seeking to have the court overturn the appointments of the Chairpersons of the PSC and the Integrity Commission.
In August, however, acting Chief Justice Roxane George confirmed that these appointments were lawfully made. The Opposition Leader has since appealed that decision, according to reports in September.
The new members of the PSC, who were sworn-in in May, are: Attorney-at-Law Lloyd Mark Conway, businessman Ernesto Choo-a-Fat, and Pastor Patrick Findlay, who will serve as Chairman. Businessman Hakeem Mohammed, who was also appointed to the commission, will be sworn in at a later date.
Meanwhile, the Integrity Service Commission has Demerara Bank Corporate Secretary Chandra Gajraj as its Chairperson; along with Attorney-at-Law Mohamed Haniff and former Solicitor General Kim Kyte-Thomas, Hardesh Tiwari and Wayne Chris Bowman as members. (Vahnu Manikchand)