Editorial: Incentives extended to teachers was a stroke of genius

Teachers, who have always been on the lowest rung of the ladder, will from March receive a 10 per cent pay rise, one of the incentives the Government has lined up for them.

In many developing countries, teaching is the last resort for any qualified person and it is looked down upon. Today, there are hardly any teachers in a government school passionate about their job; many see it as a temporary stepping stone to better things; even those who specifically go to teacher training colleges.

With the profession starkly lacking qualified teachers, the Government needed to think outside the box. Education had to redeem its image that has been dragged in the mud for far too long.  Even though a teacher’s pay is hardly sufficient, the increase was just the beginning of the many incentives in store.

Fresh graduates who take up teaching jobs for three years will now see their student loans scrapped; the same offer will apply for secondary school teachers who agree to stay on the job for five years. On top of those generous offers that few will definitely resist, they will also get priority on scholarships and receive regular upgrading of their ranks.

The longer they stay in the profession the more incentives they will get. That is exactly what teachers were waiting for and whoever came up with the idea is a genius. Why struggle to pay off student loans when there is an easier way out?

The Ministry of Education might also get a reprieve after years of being a public punching bag, an institution that many employers considered was churning out half-baked graduates. Now it will be spoilt for choice as more qualified teachers will be there for the picking. Simply, a smart move.