Not all teachers in Region 3 are supportive of GTU’s strike action

DPI, Guyana, Monday, September 3, 2018

Teachers are present in schools across Region Three as the new academic year began today.

The Regional Education Officer, Annesta Douglas told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that measures are in place to ensure schools are not left unattended and encouraged all pupils and students to attend school. “All my officers are out in the field currently conducting an assessment so that we will be able to know firsthand as to the impact this strike action has on us as a region.”

Travelling across Essequibo Islands-West Demerara it was evident that schools are not severely affected. A visit to the West Demerara Secondary School revealed that more than 80 percent of the staff complement was present and attending to students at that school. The Headmaster, Harry Narine said, “No teacher of this school indicated to me that they will be striking and looking here at the time books shows me that more than 80 percent of my teachers are present. Some are also attending the University of Guyana hence not here as yet but I am confident that my school will not be affected.”

A visit to the Vreed-en-Hoop No. 2 Nursery also revealed that all teachers are present in school attending to pupils, however, at Vreed en hoop No.1 school Headteacher and about two teachers were on strike. However, parents volunteered to assist and were being guided by two other teachers who opted to turn out to work. Teachers from Ruby Backdam Nursery and Parika Backdam Primary were in their classes attending to students.

“As much as we support GTU in the call for better salaries, we cannot sit back and watch our joy and pride, our children left unattended and that is why I am present here in school today. I love these children and I cannot leave them,” said Latchmi, a teacher from Parika Backdam Primary School.

Approximately ten percent of the teachers in the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara Region assembled outside of the Department of Education Region Three. The Regional Executive Officer Denis Jaikaran met and spoke with the teachers. When asked to give a comment on the strike action, REO Jaikaran, said, “Whatever decision is made I trust it will be beneficial to our teachers, our government and most importantly our children.”

An assessment of the situation on the ground in Region Three reflects that teachers are in full agreement of better salaries but not the proposal as suggested by their union. Also, the harsh and drastic measures to shut down schools without exhausting all the available avenues at GTU’s disposal is not resting well with a majority of the teachers.

Essequibo Islands-West Demerara has a total of 1,359 active teachers across all schools of which 454, 643 and 262 are at the Secondary, Primary and Nursery schools respectively.

Story and Images: Ganesh Mahipaul.

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