Addressing the criticism that teachers are overworked and underpaid, Education Minister Michael Browne said he has invited the Antigua & Barbuda Union of Teachers (A&BUT) to talk about salary improvements.
“We recognize that as teachers you do work hard, but the remuneration is paltry. We have invited the union to let’s have a greater look at the remuneration package for teachers and educators,” Michael Browne said while speaking at the Annual General Conference.
Browne also said that despite giving educators’ opportunities to advance their education by way of pursuing a bachelors or master’s degree free of cost, that programme remains undersubscribed.
The education minister said for over a year, the ministry has offered teachers, educators or guidance counsellors a full scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree, at minimum and principals, their deputies or incoming deputies to upgrade to a master’s degree.
“While there has been mixed forms of advertisement, I’ve received numerous intake for teachers and principals asking for clarity. The fact is those two programmes are and continue to be undersubscribed. That opportunity remains for you to take advantage of,” he added.
The National Parent Teacher Association and the union have put forward a case for teachers to be paid more.
PTA President Alister Thomas said pay must match the contribution teachers make to society.
“It is from you that everybody else gain their foundation and knowledge to grow, expand, develop and to become more proficient in all other areas, (so) how come that today you are even struggling to be paid adequately,” Thomas queried.
He said teachers should be remunerated based on the multiple roles they play and the number of personal sacrifices they make.
The union of teachers’ president, Ashworth Azille said teachers deserve a remuneration to provide them with a better standard of living.
“It is never about the money, but certainly when one works one must be paid. We would never try to quantify what the true value of a teachers’ work is. But what we do know is that it must be sufficient so that I do not have to choose Hunt’s ketchup and another brand that is far less healthy,” Azille declared