|Monday, 5 July 2004|
Pay incentives to teachers in distant and difficult schools
by E. Weerapperuma
Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said he will make a proposal to the Government to consider paying about Rs. 2,000 to Rs 2,500 as an incentive to teachers in distant and difficult schools.
He said the Governors' Association has proposed that teachers in difficult and distant areas with no facilities should be paid an incentive to retain their services and encourage others to go willingly to serve in the so called difficult areas.
Addressing a media conference at Bentota Hotel yesterday, after chairing the 5th Convention of the Governors' Association where the proposal was taken up for discussion, the Minister said he considered the proposal to give an incentive to teachers in difficult areas, as very useful and timely in the face of teachers refusing to go on transfers or take up appointments in distant places due to lack of facilities.
The Minister said there was a big demand to enter national schools while there were no teachers in village schools to teach vital subjects like mathematics.
"I faced this problem in my electorate. There were no teachers for mathematics in village schools. The reason was teachers either refuse to come or get themselves transferred in no time they come to these schools. But when I provided them quarters they stayed back and my problem was solved," he said.
"It is not easy to find quarters for school teachers everywhere. But the suggestion by the Governors is a good solution. Governor Kingsley T. Wickremeratne speaks with experience as former Minister of Trade and Commerce. When he wanted to send officers to man the Sathosa in Jaffna, he gave them incentives and he had no problem finding workers, the Minister said.
There were lot of others to join the rank to go to Jaffna. He had given them about Rs.10,000 as incentives. But we cannot pay the same amount to teachers and they are not going to Jaffna. But they should be given an incentive and this will solve some key problems faced by the Education Department. This will also ensure a good education opportunity to the poor rural students," he added.
Southern Province Governor Kingsley T. Wickremeratne suggested that teachers working in distant and difficult schools should be paid an incentive to retain their services in rural schools for the benefit of the poor village children and also to encourage others to accept their appointments to "so called difficult" and distant places.
Wickremeratne said the number of difficult places were limited and whenever a teacher is appointed to a school in a difficult area, he or she should be given an incentive and also the period of service made clearly so that, they would not stay back there after the specific period.
Governor Alavi Moulana, President of the Governors' Association said the way the Central government cuts down allocations, the provinces may not be even in a position to pay their salaries.
"But with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga taking the education under her purview we are confident that schools and teachers would have a better treatment," he said.
Governor Saliya Mathew said what was required today was to introduce a system where recruitment is done within the province to meet the requirement of the province.
If teachers are recruited from suitable candidates within the province, the problem will not arise, he added.
Produced by Lake House