Education Minister assesses schools’ readiness for Sept 3 opening

first_imgThe positive minded Education Minister, Nicolette Henry, on Saturday visited a few schools around Georgetown and on the East Coast of Demerara to assess their readiness for the new school year scheduled to begin on Monday, September 3.This was according to a statement issued by the Ministry which detailed a report of each of the schools’ readiness.Education Minister Nicolette Henry being briefed by Special Projects Officer, Ron Eastman on the ongoing works at Cummings Lodge SecondaryThe Minister’s visit comes at a time where education officials across the country are sitting at the edge of their seats, with their fingers crossed since more than 7000 teachers are expected to go on strike from today.The proposed strike is expected to start one week before the new school term begins, during schools’ pre-term activities. According to the President of the Guyana Tachers’ Union, Mark Lyte, if head teachers are going to be on strike then they need to hand over the school keys to the Department of Education before actions commence.Meanwhile, some temporary teachers are of the view that if they were to go on strike, they will be replaced by trained teachers who are waiting to get into the system. Lyte added that they could go to work and still be laid off because they are temporary.Minister Henry did say measures will be put in place if the teachers strike. Some of those measures she outlined are working a shift system in schools and having volunteers take over schools among others.However, on Friday, Lyte said he finds the Minister’s proposal hilarious.“I don’t know if the Minister understood what it took for us to have teachers. We are not replaceable. Let us see what this emergency plan is because somebody will have to conduct my orientation when the parents show up on Monday; me nor none of my teachers will be in school,” Lyte said after being assured that many of the head teachers had already handed in their keys to the Department of Education.Lyte was on Friday absent from the conciliation talks, which were organised by the Social Protection Ministry’s Department of Labour for the Union and the Education Ministry to meet and discuss a way forward.According to Lyte, he was unable to attend the meeting since he was out of the region on duty and only received an official invite on Friday morning.He indicated that he would have received yet another invitation for a meeting with the same parties, which is now expected to be held on August 28; day two into the strike action.Lyte said he is yet to confirm his attendance to that meeting.The GTU has rejected Government’s request for teachers to agree to a debunching payoff of $200 million for 2018/19. Lyte said the Union similarly rejected the $700 million cap that was placed on salary increases which was for 2018 only. Government also wants the clothing allowance to remain at $8000; a figure Lyte said was given in 2011.He said, too, that for the Whitley Council Leave, teachers still have to wait four years before getting their one month off, even though the GTU appealed for three years. The Union is seeking 40 per cent salary increases for its 7000 members.last_img

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