US$8M for hinterland education programme firmed up
Will boost salaries by $5-7,000 per month
Stabroek News
December 6, 2003

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Guyana has been allocated $1.56B or US$8M from the new Education for All Fast-Track Initiative (FTI) Cataly-tic Fund, which will be used to upgrade hinterland education over the next two years and supplement salaries.

The Ministry of Education made the announcement in a release issued yesterday following Minister of Education, Dr Henry Jeffrey's attendance at the Third High Level Meeting on Education For All which was held in India from November 10-12. He was invited by the Director General of UNESCO and the Government of India.

Jeffrey also attended the FTI Partnership Meeting (the third meeting of the donors participating in the Education for All Fast-track Initiative - FTI), in Oslo, Norway, on November 20 and 21.

The release said that the funds under the FTI, which come from a number of donor countries, would be used to purchase textbooks for the primary level, introduce a remote areas incentives for teachers set at a total of $72M, erect housing for hinterland teachers and improve school feeding among other areas.

There will be a two-tier system in the incentive scheme with teachers in areas farthest from the defined centres paid approximately $7,000 extra per month and those closer, $5,000. It is the first time that donor funds are being used to enhance remuneration, the release said, noting that the US$4M allocated for 2005 will depend largely on implementation next year.

Guyana was one of the first countries to gain FTI approval. It was thought highly desirable that the ministers of education of the first ten approved countries should join the donors in Oslo to add their perspectives on what the FTI has meant 'on the ground' and to make suggestions on how it could be improved, the ministry's press release stated.

The release said that the Delhi meeting focused on eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015.

The Oslo Partnership Meeting noted the slow progress of the FTI process to date and the ministers insisted on the need for faster disbursements, clearer rules, and more transparency, the release said.