As the Guyana Teachers’ Union opened its 2nd Triennial Delegates Conference, the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand made a commitment that the GTU will not find any resistance from within the Ministry of Education during engagements on any matter.
She said, “Your voice will not find resistance in the Ministry of Education, where it is practical, where it sensible and where it is impartial. That voice must be the amalgamation and reflection of the highly diverse and sometimes contrasting ideas and desires of our teaching force.”
Minister Manickchand said that it is vital that the Union is perceived as being balanced, unbiased and the ultimate defender of the rights of all teachers. She said that the Union must stay resolute in its desire to be the impartial intermediary that teachers need and deserve and must resist being easily swayed by the objectives and agendas of desperate groups within society.
Further, the Education Minister reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to working hand in hand with the Union to advance the overall standing of teachers since the Ministry views this as a vital prerequisite for the improvement of the education system.
She said that currently, over 2500 teachers are beneficiaries of scholarships through the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) pursuing degrees, masters, PhDs and postgraduate programmes. Additionally, she said that due to COVID and the physical closure of the Cyril Potter College of Education, teacher training was expanded and offered online which increased the intake at the College from the traditional 535 to now enrolling 3000 new students due to offering training online.
Minister Manickchand said that the aim is to have 100 per cent of the teachers in the education system be trained or are in the process of being trained. She said that though there are great untrained teachers in the system, students are more likely to receive better instruction from teachers who have undergone training.
Moreover, she said that the Ministry and the Union must work in partnership and meet each other earnestly and objectively with a singular mission of securing a better future for the children of Guyana. To that end, she said that both parties must develop a stronger alliance that fosters greater social dialogue to facilitate the voices of teachers being fully and continuously heard.
She said that this partnership must ensure that teachers receive access to professional development opportunities that align with the needs of educators and that policies must be devised to advance the empowerment of teachers and their professional practice.
President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union, Mr. Mark Lyte said that COVID allowed the Ministry of Education and teachers to utilize and embrace the benefits of technology to education delivery and management. He called for greater investment in the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) moving forward.