September reopening of schools not confirmed, talks ongoing


As the new People’s Progressive Party Government puts its plan in place for the safe reopening of schools, Education Minister Priya Manickchand on Tuesday met with members of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU).

The GTU was invited to the meeting by Minister Manickchand where she listened to the Union’s views about the impact of COVID-19 on the education sector and teachers in particular, according to a press release from the Ministry.

Schools have been closed in Guyana since March with those sitting examinations at the primary and secondary level returning only to sit those examinations.

Minister Manickchand and representatives of the union looked at a number of possibilities including virtual learning on platforms such as Zoom or google classroom, the Learning channel or a physical opening which seems to be the most important issue to address presently.

They all agreed that whatever decision is taken that children and their families must be safe while keeping children engaged academically.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand meeting with officials

September is usually the beginning of a new academic year, however, GTU expressed the view that schools were unprepared at present to accommodate a physical re-opening that would allow for the safety of all involved, the release noted.

A final decision has not been made relative to the physical reopening of schools. The Education Ministry continues to engage stakeholders on the issue and commits to making an announcement soonest.

Present at the meeting were, the President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) Mr Mark Lyte, Chief Planning Officer (CPO) Ms Nicola Johnson, Director NERD Ms Jennifer Cumberbatch, Human Resources Manager- MoE Ms Jacqueline Simon, Patrick Onwuzirike Assistant Chief Education Officer (ACEO)- Technical, Ms Samantha Williams ACEO- Nursery, Ms Carol Benn ACEO- Primary, June-Ann Gonsalves ACEO-Secondary, GTU General Secretary Coretta Mc Donald, First Vice President-GTU Lesmeine Collins and GTU Treasurer  Sumanta Alleyne.

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