Minister of Education Priya Manickchand on Wednesday indicated that she is looking to have schools at every level fully re-open after the Easter break.
Minister Manickchand made the announcement at the sidelines of the launch of the distribution of textbooks for primary school students in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
The Education Minister explained that a full return to the classroom will mean no rotations and no online engagement being facilitated at the nursery, primary or secondary levels.
She did say, however, that the benefits of integrating distance delivery will be integrated as far as it can in the face to face delivery of education.
According to the Education Minister, this move will allow the education sector to better address the issue of learning loss. Minister Manickchand added that having children back in school fully will mean that all Guyanese have to act responsibly as it relates to COVID-19 since it is not going anywhere.
The Education Minister further explained that the sector cannot expand its schools at the rate necessary to ensure there is one child seated on a bench or six feet apart.
“If we were to do it, children will be rotating for the next three to four years and that will be the loss of an entire generation for this country. That’s not going to be something a growing Guyana can tolerate.”
Due to the pandemic, schools were closed but were gradually reopened by the Ministry of Education. As a result of school closures and the inability of many students to access online learning, they have suffered from learning loss while some have been absent from school for an extended period.
Those pupils who have been absent are currently being sought by the ministry to have them returned to the classroom. This is being done through ‘Operation Recovery’, a programme specifically designed to address absenteeism.
Minister Manickchand said that the programme was launched initially to locate those pupils who were absent for the first National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) mock examination that was written last month.
She said that as of last weekend the ministry was able to locate 538 students of out 1,300 who did not show up for the examination. (Modified press release from the Ministry of Education)