The Ministry of Education’s contingency plan was activated in the town of Linden, as scores of Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) trainee teachers, and some retired teachers were placed at various primary schools to fill the void left by absent teachers.
Some of the absent teachers participated in protest action in front of the region’s Department of Education.
Some schools, including the Linden Foundation Secondary School, the Wisburg Secondary School, Regma Primary School and the New Silver City Secondary School, saw teachers showing up for work to attend to the students who turned up for school. However, at other schools, students were forced to return home after being met by locked doors.
The trainee teachers met with the Regional Education Officer (ag) (REDO), Keane Adams and Chairman of the Regional Education Committee, Denise Belgrave and were briefed on the role they will be playing for the duration of the strike action organised by the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU).
Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer (CEO) Marcel Hutson, visited several institutions in the mining town. The CEO met with the teachers and expressed his appreciation for their support during this period.
During his first visit to the Linden Foundation Secondary School (LFSS), the CEO met with approximately 20 teachers who were present and thanked them for reporting to duty on the first day of school. He reassured them that the Ministry of Education, and by extension, the Government of Guyana, is committed to making the lives of teachers better.
“The Ministry of the Education is committed to resolving this issue. this morning while listening to the radio, I heard a parent call in say that the children shouldn’t suffer because they are not responsible for the situation. It is sad that a child woke up this morning to go to school and there is no school to go to. It is my desire to ensure that better will be done for you,” he said.
He affirmed that on the first day of school, there may be some hiccups as it relates to the ratio of backup teachers to students, but assured this will be resolved quickly with the contingency plan in place.
The CEO also visited the Mackenzie High School (MHS), Wisburg Secondary School and the Christianburg Wismar Secondary School (CWSS). He also met with the REdO, to discuss further implementation of the regional contingency plan.
At the site of the protest action, Member of Parliament, Jermaine Figueira told the protesting teachers that as a teacher himself for 18 years, he empathises with them and understands the struggle. MP Figueira reassured the teachers that the government is working to improve their offer.
“I believe that the government will make every effort to give the teachers an increase that they will be comfortable with as soon as possible. President Granger, who is committed to education has come out himself to say that he will take the lead in teachers getting the increase that they can be comfortable with.”
President David Granger, at last Friday’s press conference, said that the Coalition Government, through the Ministry of Finance, it is undertaking efforts to augment its initial offer. The Head of State disclosed that the Ministry of Social Protection is presently in discussions with the Ministry of Finance to determine the way forward.