While secondary school students from Form Two to Six are set to return to school for daily face-to-face classes from January, the Guyana Teachers Union has indicated that it is still to be consulted on the decision.
However, the Ministry of Education is moving ahead with its plan for the full reopening for students in Forms Two to Six.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand brushed aside the concerns of the Guyana Teachers Union about not being consulted.
She said the Ministry of Education does not need to consult with the union to ask teachers to do their job.
“Going to school is normal. This is what teachers are paid to do. This is what they are called to do and this is their calling, this is their job. So, we don’t need to speak to the union to tell them that their teachers must write on the chalkboard either…So, this is just a natural progression. The normal thing is to be in school teaching”, the Education Minister said.
She said 70% of teachers are vaccinated and are ready to engage their students for in-person classes.
Schools in Guyana have been closed to face-to-face classes since March 2020.
The Minister of Education said there is a growing problem with learning loss with the nation’s children and many of them need to return to school.
“Anything we do, we are mandated both by the Constitution, as well as our moral, ethical responsibility, we have to do what is in the best interest of our children”, Manickchand said.
With the vaccination rate for secondary school children still low, the Education Minister said parents should seriously consider getting their children vaccinated as they return to the classroom.
“We are not forcing anyone to take the vaccine, but listen I have taken dose one, dose two, and my booster and the Ministry staff has done the same, and people, quite a number of persons have done that and millions of students have taken the vaccines. We are recommending and pushing and encouraging and going into schools trying to get children to take the vaccines but we are not going to hold anyone and put a shot in their arm. So, it remains a choice but that choice will have consequences”, Minister Manickchand emphasized.