Ministry of Education, Guyana

Saturday, 30 November 2019 14:48

Response to Stabroek News Newspaper and Kaieteur News Newspaper respectively.

The Ministry of Education, has noted with grave concern a number of outrageous statements made regarding an incident that occurred at a City School involving two students and in particular letters published on Saturday November 30, 2019 by Stabroek News under the headline” Ministry of Education and its officials must explore their ignorance of dynamics of gender-based violence” and Kaieteur News “It seems the Ministry of Education thinks this is all “normal” … Apologise to the girl now Minister.”

The Ministry of Education emphatically rejects these hasty conclusions contained in the letters and wishes to reassure this nation that the Ministry of Education, immediately intervened and handled the matter to the best of its ability when the matter came to its attention. Many reports made to the public seem to have their genesis in personal opinions, emotions and perspectives on the matter.

The Ministry of Education has related information to the media which has in some instances been misquoted whether mistakenly or blatantly. However, the Ministry of Education wishes to place the matter in its proper perspective, while at the same time recognizing that since the matter involves two minors according to law, the information divulged must not in any way interfere with the privacy of the children and their families.

It must be noted that matters of this nature are subjected to confidentiality, privacy and sensitivity. The investigation revealed several social constructs that are at play, including gender, protection of orphans and vulnerable children, bullying, security and safety of students and physical violence.
Having met with the student population and teachers of the School on the 28th November 2019. The Education Minister subsequently met individually with students involved and their parents/guardian to delve deeper into the matter. Based on the information provided, it is quite apparent that both students are in need of counselling support because of their own individual circumstances and the Ministry has committed to providing the same.

Both students admitted that their respective actions would have contributed to the incident and contrary to the claims made in the letters, by Friday, November 29, 2019, the Ministry took a number of actions including:

1. Meeting with the parents and guardian of the children to address the matter
2. Having the students apologise for their behaviour
3. Providing anger management, conflict resolution and other supportive services
4. Reprimanding the students involved in the incident
5. Suspension with counselling and other referral services where applicable

Additionally, the students and their parents/guardians have committed to improving their own shortcomings, doing their utmost towards ensuring there will not be a recurrence of any such incident and moving forward in an amicable and peaceful manner. More importantly, the Ministry of Education has committed to providing any and all support that both parties would need to ensure that their respective commitments are realized.

The Ministry wishes to advise all of its stakeholders including the media to engage in responsible reporting since this is an imperative expected from this fraternity.

Let us be responsible citizens and work collectively to build a better Guyana.

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