Schools cannot operate with 20% teachers – Region 6 Chairman

first_imgThe few teachers who did not participate in the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) organised strike, which is now in its second week, are inadequate to control a total school population, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) Chairman David Armogan said on Monday.Region Six Chairman David ArmoganHundreds of teachers representing schools throughout Region Six on Monday morning took to the streets of New Amsterdam protesting for increased salaries while less than 50 per cent of the school population attended school on Monday and the numbers are expected to reduce significantly today.The teachers chanted slogans, which suggested they were not going to settle for anything less than the 40 per cent wage hike they proposed to Government.The teachers demonstrated outside the Department of Education in New Amsterdam and then went around the town before converging at the GTU Hall at Vrymens Erven.GTU President Mark Lyte was part of the protest demonstration in Berbice.He explained that the mass demonstration was to send a signal across the region that teachers are prepared to work.“As you can see, they are all dressed for work but because of the fact that we have not been given our package, we are not going into the classroom… The package is a multiyear proposal that we have. Most importantly in the package would be salary increases for teachers; that is where the loggerhead is where we are not being offered anything reasonable,” Lyte said.He noted that the way forward is for Government to go back to the table and relook at what they have offered teachers and to come back with something that the Union can accept.“We indicated that we do not trust the conciliation mediators but we all times remain open to the Government or the Ministry of Education coming to us and say ‘Let’s end this thing we are willing to offer X percentage; we are willing to make a commitment on clothing allowance,’ and the Union will be willing to go ahead with it. Failing that we will have to go to arbitration,” the Union’s President explained to Guyana Times.Meanwhile, Region Six Chairman David Armogan said while the teachers were on the streets on Monday, he visited schools to get a firsthand feel at what was taking place at schools throughout the region.According to him, between 40 to 50 per cent of the children turned out to school but a large number of parents, who were taking their children to school for the first time, having realised that the teachers were on strike took their children back home.“Probably recognising that there would be very little supervision in schools, they decided not to take chances… Now in terms of the teacher turnout, it is just 15 and 20 per cent overall,” he added.In all of the schools in New Amsterdam and along the Corentyne, which this publication visited, teachers were not seen in the classrooms. Many children were happy to reunite with their friends after the school holiday.Armogan said many of the volunteers indicated that they were not going to be able to handle the noise in the schools; all of which were poorly manned.According to the Regional Chairman, many of the schools had about four or five members of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) assisting to supervise schools.“They have to supervise between 200 and 300 children; some of these people are old people too and I don’t think they have the capacity to handle these young children. Some of them had already started to give up by the time a left the school this morning, because they are not accustomed to dealing with children at that level. Children at that level are very playful and very noisy’” the Chairman said. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img

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