Teachers Requested The $300 Stipend
Education Minister Hon. Natalio ‘Sowande’ Wheatley has pushed back against criticisms over government’s decision to provide teachers with a $300 stipend each for this academic year 2021/2022.
In fact, the minister said it was the teachers through its union who requested that amount.
“Recently through the Teachers Union, teachers made a demand for a $300 stipend, and we met that demand. Some persons try to throw cold water on it ‘oh you only giving the teachers $300’,” he said recently in the House of Assembly.
The minister added, “it is important to note this is what the teachers requested, and I thought it was a reasonable request. And this has nothing to do with the salaries.”
Minister Wheatley said that the teachers are to benefit from the upcoming salary review for public servants. He assured that the union will be fully involved in the negotiations.
The minister reminded that the last salary review for public officers were conducted in 2002 under the late Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal.
Minister Wheatley said teachers will also be learning more about their outstanding increment payments.
Following the announcement in late August, Opposition Leader Hon. Marlon Penn called out the minister.
“I am sure the teachers are grateful, and members of the community are [grateful] but come on, don’t use this as some ploy that you scrape at the bottom of the barrel to find this money. Like you are the saviour for the teachers,” the Opposition Leader said.
He added, “when on the other hand we are taking millions of dollars- we had fishing and farming grants $2M jumped to $6.2M and counting, $4 additional million dollars and you are talking about scraping the bottom of the barrel.”
Hon. Penn said the government needs to manage the financial resources wisely because priority areas are not getting attention.