GTU’s call for teachers to strike uncaring, unconscionable, irresponsible – Education Ministry

The Education Ministry on Tuesday evening has described the call by the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) for teachers to strike as uncaring and unconscionable, and has condemned the 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” ,=.
On Tuesday, the GTU issued a notice to teachers entitled “Boots on de ground”, calling for them to protest in front of the Education Ministry’s Brickdam office on September 8, 9, and 10.
In a statement following the notice, the Education Ministry said that children have been home from school for over 17 months and despite the world’s best efforts, there has been a well-chronicled resultant loss of learning and school-leaving.
“Here in Guyana, we have evidence of significant learning loss and drop-outs at every level, with more than 600 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,” the Ministry said.
It noted that teachers have been accorded the status of a most valuable resource, and teachers were paid their full salary and benefits throughout the 17 months.
According to the Education Ministry, there were no salary cuts nor 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 said.
It added that it was adamant that there was no grievance/basis for strike action and urged 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 also called upon the teachers 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 socialisation as we exit this pandemic and reclaim our lives.”