Strike called by GTU irresponsible – Education Ministry

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See full statement below: 

The Ministry of Education has noted the uncaring and unconscionable call for strike action by the Guyana Teachers Union; we condemn this action as irresponsible and not reflective of the realities of the present state of the COVID-19 pandemic nor the needs of the nation’s children.

Here are the facts; our children have been home from school for over seventeen months; despite the world’s best efforts, there has been a well-chronicled resultant loss of learning and school-leaving (dropping out). Here in Guyana, we have evidence of significant learning loss and drop-outs at every level, with more than six hundred drop-outs recorded at the primary level alone. We are working assiduously to arrest this situation and reverse this reality for our children who have already fallen victim to these phenomena. We want all of our children engaged and in school and are working towards achieving this safely. There is no mandatory requirement for children to be vaccinated to return to classrooms.

Education Minister Priya Manickchand with some students from Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni)

Our teachers have been accorded the status of a most valuable resource and teachers were paid their full salary and benefits throughout the seventeen months; there were no salary cuts or layoffs as in so many other countries. Vaccination of teachers is not mandatory and there are clear guidelines issued for those who do not want to be inoculated all of this to keep teachers, their families, and our children safe. The Government of Guyana has spared no effort to make vaccines available to every member of the public and return the country to a state of normalcy. Multiple types and brands of vaccines are still available and easily accessible to all Guyanese.

The Ministry of Education is adamant that there is no grievance/basis for strike action and urges all teachers, parents, and administrators not to fall prey to the political machinations of Coretta McDonald and the small cabal of self-serving individuals who have hijacked the Guyana Teachers Union. The Ministry reminds all that teachers who do not work do not get paid.

The Ministry calls upon the teachers of this country to reject the unconscionable call of the GTU, Coretta McDonald, and her political cohorts in favour of serving the children of our nation and advancing their education and socialization as we exit this pandemic and reclaim our lives.