After being closed for more than a year, the Government of Guyana is looking to have schools reopened to physical learning, in September.
This announcement was made on Friday by Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, who said that the decision was taken based on advice from the Ministry of Health.
“For all classes across the country, we are going to remain closed for the remaining days in May, and the months of June, July and August,” minister Manickchand said in her broadcast message. She noted, however, that this latest schedule does not apply to Grades 10, 11 and 12 [fourth, fifth and sixth forms] which returned to the classrooms in November 2020.
The minister reminded that schools were closed in March last year, following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the decision was taken based on the fact that there was no cure for the deadly disease. Even though a cure is still out of reach, the vaccines have proven to be effective enough to guard against serious symptoms and, more importantly, death.
“The world has developed a cure to the point where we know if people are vaccinated, they will not die from COVID-19. We have also moved pass the place where vaccines were not easily accessible,” Manickchand related. She said that with the availability of enough vaccines, the administration will be working assiduously to ensure the reopening of schools.
“We expect that people are going to be responsible, although we are not making vaccination mandatory,” the minister noted.
As it relates to the upcoming National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA), Minister Manickchand said that August 4 and 5 remain tentative dates; however, this could change, depending on what decision is taken by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), pertaining to the hosting of the regional examinations.
CXC is currently re-examining the dates for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, as well as the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) which were initially set for June-July 2021. “If CXC changes their date, it would impact significantly on the date of our NGSA,” Manickchand said. The Ministry of Education has been working to ensure that the examination periods locally and regionally, do not clash.
Minister Manickchand is encouraging the NGSA pupils, their parents and teachers, “to prepare as though the exams are going to happen in August.”
The announcement of possible reopening of schools was also made by Vice-President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, who underscored the need for all Guyanese adults to become vaccinated in an effort to put an end to the coronavirus.