The Guyana Teachers Union is against the move by the Education Ministry to have secondary schools across the country host a Christmas Luncheon instead of Christmas Parties for the students.
The GTU believes the Education Ministry’s decision breaks away from tradition.
General Secretary of the GTU Coretta McDonald told News Source today that the union is not in support of the sudden shift in policy.
The union official said while the union was not consulted, she believes the Union could have worked along with the Ministry to come up with a new format to the year-end celebrations.
“The thing is, children would have worked the whole year and Christmas party is what all of our children are looking forward to having it. What we are supposed to be doing rather than banning parties, our job is to effectively monitor what happens at our Christmas parties,” she explained.
In a memo, the Education Ministry instructed all secondary schools to host Luncheons instead of Christmas parties. And the students will have to attend the Luncheons in their school uniform and it must be over by 2:30pm.
But the GTU Official maintains that the change is another act of double standard behaviour practised in the education system, where all the decisions are made only by one group. She it is for this and other reasons why there are so many problems that continue to plague the system on a daily basis.
“We don’t want to have Christmas parties with secular music. But what happens at Mash time? When its Mashramani, we have the children gyrating on the road to all kinds of music. I am hoping that the same thought would be given to Mashramani and so we’ll have patriotic songs being played during that time.”
Meanwhile, former Education Minister Priya Manickchand has also publicly commented on the issue. She said it seems the Ministry is conceding that it is unable to manage schools in a way that gives children wide and varied experiences that allow them to learn and socialize, even as they are taught to do so in a responsible manner.
“So in the absence of the ability to sensibly manage schools and children, the Government’s answer is to throw up their hands and shut everything down. Just become autocratic and dictatorial. Because that has worked in some other country?” Manickchand said in a social media post.
But scores of teachers from all across the country have come out in support of the Education Ministry’s decision and many parents are just as supportive.
Class teachers are also required to check their student’s bags to ensure there are no weapons, alcohol or illegal drugs and no strangers or visitors should be allowed to visit the activities.
The security guards and teachers will also be responsible to check all students entering to ensure that they are current students of the school.
Additionally, the schools are permitted to have a well-organized Christmas Concert showcasing the religious aspect of Christmas only.