Government must take blame for learning loss being experienced by students -GTU

Government must take blame for learning loss being experienced by students -GTU

The General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), Coretta McDonald is laying blame at the feet of the Government for the nation’s children losing critical hours of learning, as the Irfaan Ali Administration refuses to address the concerns of thousands of teachers who are on strike.

The striking teachers continue to demand that the Government engages their union with to discuss salary increases and non-salary issues that form part of the union’s multi-year proposal.

But with the strike in its fourth week and thousands of children forced to stay home, the Government has not been budging from its position that the strike is illegal.

The GTU General Secretary today said the public education sector has not yet fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing strike is likely to result in further learning loss, much to the detriment of the nation’s children. 

“I am not sure if the Ministry of Education, the chief education officer, the regional education officers, the deputy chiefs, I am not sure whether they are cognizant of that fact or maybe it is a deliberate effort on their part to prevent the children from being in school. Because if they were concerned then they would have been ready to talk to the Guyana Teachers’ Union. They would have been ready to talk to their minister to let her know, teachers are important, losing hours of contact time with our children is even more important, more so, because of the fact that the children have the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) exams to write,” McDonald told News Source as she picketed outside the Ministry of Education along with teachers.

In addition to the National Grade Six Assessment Examinations, thousands of students are also preparing for the CXC exams which are scheduled to commence as early as April. 

McDonald said the Education Ministry, and by extension the Government could minimize the impact by simply meeting with the Union.

“We have recognized that many of the senior officers within the Ministry of Education, their children are attending private schools, many of the ministers’ children, they are attending private schools, so it seems as if there is no care for the poor and the ordinary citizens whose children are attending public schools,” the GTU General Secretary said. 

McDonald also took a swipe at President Irfaan Ali, who is hosting the ongoing CARICOM Meeting. She said he continues to ignore the plight of local teachers while focusing on other problems outside of Guyana.

“Our teachers are more than upset that the president of this country has given US$2M to CARICOM, and you are saying to teachers, you don’t have money to pay them. If that is not disrespect then I don’t know what else is. And because of the fact that you can find US$2M to give to CARICOM in the face of your teachers being out here, then it is saying that teachers are not valued by you and your government,” she said. 

The GTU General Secretary said the union is also hoping t engage regional leaders in an effort to get them to encourage the Guyana Government to meet with the union.

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