‘Operation Recovery’: No Grade Six pupil will drop out of school– Manickchand

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In an effort to reduce learning loss and prevent school dropouts, the Ministry of Education commenced its ‘Operation Recovery’ exercise on Friday.

The exercise aims to assess absenteeism of students and offer support to get those children back in the classroom.

The exercise was set in motion after several children were absent from the recent National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) Mock exams.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand braved the inclement weather on Friday morning and visited the homes of pupils who have continuously been absent from school.

The Minister was accompanied by Regional Education Officer Akbar Chinu and other education officials.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand speaks to a mother and her daughter (Photo: Ministry of Education)

Minister Manickchand noted that the world’s studies have shown that as long as school remains closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, education systems will crash.

This can result in a large number of dropouts, gaps and learning loss in the academic world.

“We are certain in Guyana that we do not want to be a statistic, that we can take measures to mitigate against those harsh consequences. One of the mitigating measures we are taking is insisting that no child at the Common Entrance or NGSA level will drop out of school and that is why we’re engaged in this activity,” Minister Manickchand said.

‘Operation Recovery’ is being conducted in all 11 education districts across Guyana.

Education Officers from Central Ministry and within the Education Districts along with Regional officials and community activists are currently fanning out into communities to locate these pupils.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand makes her way to a
pupil’s home (Photo: Ministry of Education)

In addition to locating the Grade Six pupils, the exercise is also finding other children who have not been attending school because there is little to no access to resources for them to do so.

To this end, Minister Manickchand appealed to all of Guyana to be a part of the efforts to ensure that each child has access to educational opportunities.

“There is no way we can change the lives of these children except to get them an education and we are very sure at the Ministry of Education that this is something that we can do. We can get these children back into schools and once we do, we are going to devise different things, different strategies and different ways of plugging the learning loss gap…we’re asking parents to send your children to school, we’re asking community members and everybody else to ensure as far as you can, we get every child back into the classroom.”

The Ministry believes firmly that urgent, practical, sustained measures such as teaching and learning from a consolidated curriculum, the provision of textbooks, re-training of teachers, using technology in the classroom and ‘Operation Recovery’ will mitigate against the predicted loss to our students and country.

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