Education Ministry working to return schools to normal

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry says her ministry is working to have all schools opened and functional as far as possible. The minister, last evening, hosted a press conference to report on the effects of the ongoing strike action called by the Guyana Teachers’ Union to ask for an increase in salaries and other benefits.

“I would say to the nation that we will work to ensure that those [schools] that were closed today are open tomorrow and we will work to keep them opened as far as possible,” Minister Henry said.

Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson said that contingency measures are in place to ensure children have access to the schools and the delivery of education services continue. Amidst concerns being raised by parents and other stakeholders, he assured that the substitute teachers are competent.

“I think we need to understand that those teachers who have been placed at the different schools with needs are competent teachers. Actually, in order to enter the Cyril Potter School of Education, five subjects at CXC is required. Also, these teachers would have already undergone a period of training and they are at the stage of doing their practicum.  So, they would have gone through a whole host of education courses,” Hutson explained.

Today marks the second day of the new school term and more than a week since teachers across the country began strike action to demand increases in salaries and other benefits. To date, the government has offered a lump sum $700Million to augment teachers’ salaries along with a number of non-salaried benefits. Among the non-salary benefits proposed were 100 duty-free concessions and 50 scholarships per year for teachers.

According to the Minister of Education, “The union asked that the executives of the union receive duty-free concessions for themselves and I said you’re here for the teachers; I did not agree because it is my opinion that they should be representing the teachers,” the minister emphasised.

President David Granger, at his press conference last week, responded to a question regarding the unions’ request posed by media personnel, where he noted that the government it is undertaking efforts to augment its initial offer.

By: Kidackie Amsterdam.

Images: Keno George.

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