─ in the face of ongoing protest by GTU

Thursday marks four days since schools have been reopened across the country for face-to-face engagement, after more than 17 months of virtual learning.

Engagement continues in schools across the country, even while the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) has called for strike action.

The Ministry of Education has condemned the strike action deeming it “irresponsible and not reflective of the realities of the present state of the COVID-19 pandemic nor the needs of the nation’s children.”

Teachers have been urged not fall prey to “political machinations” of the Opposition and put the needs of the children first.news 20210910 10

DPI visited several schools along the coast on Thursday, where teachers expressed their eagerness to be back in the classroom.

Pearl Nelson, Teacher – “Well, I am happy to know we are back in school and we can reach with the children face to face. I think that some parents, they are very glad for this because most of the times when we were teaching online, we would get problems like miss like I don’t understand the concept how to put it over to get the children to understand how to do their work but now we are face to face. I will encourage parents that teachers are still working, teachers got their children at heart and I will encourage all of them to send their children out to school despite what is happening. We are here to teach them; we are here to protect them.”news 20210910 11

Pheona Johnson, Teacher – “We at St. Pius Primary school we are practicing all our COVID-19 guidelines whereby we are keeping the six feet apart distance and we are sanitising the children’s hands on a regular basis and cleaners are sanitising also, so parents if you wish yes, you can send out your children to school because remember they have already missed a year of work and when they come back face to face at least we are going to be able to bring them back up to par.”news 20210910 12

Dharshani Bisnuath, Teacher – “We are committed. So, we are here to do what we have to do and that is what makes me as a school teacher feel happy.”

Mahadai Prince, Teacher – “It is good that the Government open back school and I like how they’re doing it…we gonna take it bit by bit and not open the whole school at one time or having all the children at one time”

Sariah Sukhdeo, Teacher – “I’m happy that they’ve reopened the school we are going to be able to get to do more than what we been doing for the past one and a half year…this is a very nice opportunity to be out here and wanting to be in the classroom is something that I was waiting for, I was just waiting for the Government to reopen school to be honest.”news 20210910 13

The Ministry of Education has made every effort to ensure that the learning environment is safe for the nation’s children.

For nursery schools, five students are assigned to each teacher to allow for better management. Additionally, teachers are expected to engage nursery school students no less than two hours per day and four hours per week.

To ensure COVID-19 preventative measures are observed and limit contact, learning packages including crayons, pencils, building blocks and other materials were distributed. Students must take these along with them when they go to school.news 20210910 14

Meanwhile, primary schools were opened on a rotational basis. An exemption was made for grade six classes to attend school almost daily since it is an examination class.

The reopening of secondary schools for face-to-face teaching will be based on the national vaccination programme for adolescents across the country.