Ministry of Education dubs statement by GTU on ‘secret announcing of school re-opening’ odd
The Ministry of Education has noted the odd press release issued by the Guyana Teachers Union and immediately wishes to advise that there had been no “secret announcement,” as is alleged by the Union, passed down from the central ministry to re-start schools on the 7th September, 2020.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand was very clear in her public statement dated the 14th August 2020, which was specifically shared with the Guyana Teachers’ Union more than once and carried widely in the press that while face to face schooling cannot go on, delivery of education does not necessarily have to stop.
The Ministry, through direct engagement with teachers about exactly what, how, and where they have been engaging, is aware that many teachers from schools in every region have engaged their students by various means using ICT and print material. The Ministry applauds and gives thanks to those teachers and administrators and encourages them to continue to be innovative and engaged and to teach if they can and however they can.
We recognize this as teachers stepping up to do their part to meet their human and patriotic duty to contribute to the world’s efforts to fight back against the adverse effects of a pandemic.
Teachers have made contact with the Ministry and have raised publicly at various consultation forums at which members of the executive of the union were present, their desire to be creative and innovative in reaching their students, and attempting to reduce learning loss. The Ministry of Education appreciates and encourages the independent thinking and approaches used by teachers and makes no apologies for failing to autocratically use a big stick to stop any teacher or school from contacting and engaging their learners in a structured way using whatever is available to them.
We will not partner with any person or union to stifle teachers at this time or in the future.
We also noted the union suggesting not doing anything until there is a perfect system with perfect responses with perfect equality. We are not in perfect, normal times but we have always been a people who can adapt to accommodate realities. This trait ought to be encouraged and not suffocated.
The Ministry repeats that centrally there is a coordinated effort to deliver education nationally to ALL our students. This began just after the PPP/C assumed office. This delivery will be multi-faceted as was said by the Minister since the 14th August 2020 and repeated thereafter, as no one approach at this time will meet all our learners equitably.
This will include online instruction, lessons on the Learning Channel, print material delivered to children who have no access to the Learning Chanel or online education, possibly classes in some areas in the open air. None of these measures can trump the benefits of a Teacher administering face- to face instruction or a Teacher engaging his/her class individually. They will hopefully be used to supplement what teachers are already doing. As the Minister had said, some of these measures will be rolled out as early as the second week in September. To be clear some of these shall begin next week. A more detailed statement on this will be made shortly.
We encourage the Union to be fair and sensible in its positions on what is obtaining in the sector in the pandemic days and going forward.