Manickchand urges teachers to find another resolve; worries possible strike may add to learning loss
Teachers across the country last week held a ‘sick out’ as part of calls for better salary negotiations but according to Education Minister Priya Manickchand, teachers must consider how this is affecting students.
The Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) initiated the industrial action because proposals for increased salaries were not granted.
Minister Manickchand addressed reporters at the sidelines of an event on Tuesday and urged teachers to reconsider future strike action, noting that it affects students who are already grappling due to learning loss brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are just coming out of a COVID period where we are seeing very forceful the effects of children staying home and being without instruction so anyone who asks children to go without education is someone without a conscience.
“There are very many ways to resolve issues and I am hoping that the various bodies and individuals will address their minds on those consequences. Every time a child goes without teaching I am concerned,” Minister Manickchand said.
She stressed that the government is committed to ensuring that children are learning and all parties are comfortable. As such, she reminded that several salary adjustments are on board for consultations by President Dr Irfaan Ali. Notably, she reminded that classroom grants and other benefits are allotted to teachers.
However, asked whether the ministry will engage the GTU to discuss the issue, the minister said “We met with the union last week…they have different committees where we talk about different issues.”
Teachers have called for salary adjustments over the years and last year, there was an adjustment for teachers who are in training to receive salaries rather than stipends.