Education Ministry engages over 900 teachers on schools reopening

CSEC, CAPE exams

The Education Ministry continues to meet stakeholders on plans for the reopening of schools for CSEC and CAPE students. Over the past two days, more than 900 teachers and officials from Regions One (Barima-Waini); Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); Four (Demerara-Mahaica); Five (Mahaica-Berbice); Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); Eight (Potaro-Siparuni); Nine (Upper TakUtu-Upper Essequibo) and Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice) were engaged by way of a Zoom meeting on key decisions regarding reopening of schools, the Ministry reported.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand told the teachers that it was the MoE’s belief that it would be a prudent approach to consult with the teachers of these examination students in order to finalise the best possible approach in relation to a reopening. Additionally, she said that although COVID-19 has presented endless challenges, it has also provided opportunities. She added that ordinarily she may not have been able to engage so many teachers at the same time, but with the pandemic and how things have changed, she is able to do so.
In addressing the core issue of the reopening of schools, Minister Manickchand said the MoE has very limited options in this regard, because of the posture taken by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). This body has started advertising dates for registration for students sitting the 2021 CAPE and CSEC exams.
It is for this reason, she said, that urgent actions have to be taken so that Guyana’s cohort of CSEC and CAPE students are adequately prepared to sit those examinations when a date is announced.
The Education Minister assured teachers that when schools eventually reopen, how the teachers are timetabled will be a decision for the schools’ administration. However, she cautioned that if the school fails to timetable teachers, the MoE will.
Minister Manickchand said that allowing this flexibility would ensure solutions and approaches that best suit each school’s unique situation are adopted.
She noted that at the level of the Ministry, care packages will be provided to each teacher, and those would comprise of sanitation materials, masks and other similar supplies.
The Education Ministry is also presently installing additional sinks and toilets at schools and is getting all schools fully ready for reopening.
Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Education Officer – Secondary (Ag.) Ameer Ali, noted that the Ministry would ascertain at what stage students are with their SBAs and their Internal Assessments (IAs), and develop a plan customised for individual schools or groups of schools that would allow students to complete the SBAs within the time frame set out by CXC for the 2021 examinations.
The importance of text books was explained to the teachers by the Deputy Chief Education Officer- Development, Volika Jaikishun. Towards this end she urged the teachers to ensure all text books are returned by the previous exam students. She also impressed upon teachers to need to ensure proper records on first day attendance are collected when schools reopen, so that the MoE can make interventions if needed.