As part of its Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed with the Education Ministry, the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) is calling for the review of the “ratio of students to teachers”.
The Union has made this proposal on the grounds of bargaining for better terms and conditions of employment for teachers within the public education sector.
Based on assessments that have been made by the Union as it relates to the effects of a large ratio of students to one teacher, a number of shortcomings were evident.
General Secretary of the GTU, Coretta McDonald, said the Union has recognised that classroom teaching will be more effective if there were smaller class sizes, which would benefit both teachers and students.
As such, the Union had much reason for making the proposal with the interest of the general education sector at heart.
McDonald reported that in the Education Act, it was passed that there be a reduction of students that are in one class, but they are calling for these figures to be further broken down to effectuate advanced teaching techniques.
Explaining why the proposal was made, she informed that as it is known, when students enter a class, there is a combination of different personalities, various levels of learning capabilities, ranging from ‘highflyers’ to ‘weak’ and a number of necessities that each posses.
The task of meeting these requirements to ensure that each student is equally and adequately catered for is thus left for the teachers to manage which, in most instances, poses a challenge.
In addition, McDonald alluded to situations where parents have complained about their children not receiving ample attention from their teachers since their books were not being ‘marked’ frequently and they were lagging behind.
The proposals by the Union will seek to ensure that specific conditions are addressed so that teachers will be more comfortable, students will be able to gain more and parents will be satisfied, which would then transform the education sector and rebuild Guyana’s capacity of delivering education at a paramount level.
The ratio of students to teachers has been agreed and listed in the MoA as 15 students to one teacher for nursery schools; 20 to one for Grades One and Two; 25 to one for Grades Three throughout Six; 25 to one for secondary schools and 15 to one for practical instructional centres.
I actually agree with the GTU and hope that the Education Ministry will address the issue of student ratio. I am a senior early years practitioner and have 15 children with a ratio of 1:3.
My kids are all high achievers and my setting has recently obtained an Outstanding Ofsted report.