Govt reminds of progress in education sector, as teachers go on strike

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Some teachers who are on strike protesting outside of the Ministry of Education in Georgetown

As some teachers, backed by the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), began to strike today, the government used the opportunity to remind of the many advancements made in the education sector, including in the lives of educators.

GTU’s Mark Lyte has informed media operatives that the union is prepared to support the teachers in their strike, until their demands are addressed.

The GTU had initially shared that the strike would last for two weeks. Today, protest actions were held at various locations across the country, including outside of the Ministry of Education’s office in Georgetown.

The main demand of teachers is for better pay. While public servants were given a 6.5 per cent wage increase, which teachers benefitted from, they are demanding more.

Through various GTU spokespersons, the teachers admitted that non-salary issues are being addressed by the government.

Meanwhile, today, the government’s information arm, the Department of Public Information, published the following report, highlighting the advancements made in the education sector from August 2020 to date.

More investments and careful policies are being made in the education sector to improve its delivery and provide more opportunities for the growth of Guyanese while constructing a world-class education model.
This year, a sum of $135.2 billion is allocated to the education sector to accomplish these measures.
Guyana continues to make progress in achieving 100 per cent trained teachers. As such, the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) graduated 1,796 teachers in 2023 for the first time in Guyana’s history.
Through the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL), some 3,886 teachers are currently studying on a GOAL scholarship. This amounts to 29 per cent of the teaching population being provided with scholarships.
A total of 131 teachers have completed their studies with post-graduate diplomas, 31 diplomas, and 81 master’s degrees.
In November 2023, President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali announced salary and allowance adjustments which will benefit over 4,000 teachers.
Moreover, teachers with a bachelor’s degree are now receiving a $10,000 monthly education stipend. A teacher with a PhD is now receiving $30,000, while holders of a master’s degree are receiving an additional $20,000.
Some 4,500 teachers throughout the school system have gained from this adjustment in allowances, which equates to an annual investment of $500 million.
This revision in allowances is benefitting 4,500 teachers across the educational system, amounting to an investment of $500 million yearly.
Furthermore, the compensation of a Graduate Senior Mistress/Head of Department was increased from $243,069 to $262,917, while the salary of a Graduate Senior Assistant Mistress employed in the hinterland was increased from $223,232 to $243, 076.
Huge sums of money are being injected into the construction, renovation, and extension of educational facilities throughout the country.
These schools are also being equipped with the necessary amenities such as fire prevention mechanisms, furniture, and recreational areas, among others.
In the last three years, 4,575 children have been provided with a comfortable environment to receive their education in various secondary schools across the nation.
Various secondary schools have been constructed in 2023 including De Willem, Good Hope, Westminster, Yarrowkabra, and Abram Zuil. Additionally, St Roses High, Bishops’ High, Queen’s College, East Ruimveldt Secondary, and St Winefride’s Secondary received new annexes.
This year, works will be advanced to complete several secondary schools on Hosororo, North-West, Kwebanna, Jawalla, Karasabai, Christ Church, North Ruimveldt, St George’s, and St Mary’s. Extension work will be executed at St Stanislaus College.
Meanwhile, construction will commence at new secondary schools at Aishalton, Christiansburg Multilateral, Kopinang, Micobie, and Prospect.
Six primary schools will be constructed at Recht Door Zee, Tuschen, Tabatinga, Wisroc, Huradiah, and Diamond.
Students of Augsburg Primary School in Region Five will also benefit from the construction of a new building for $34 million.
Students are also receiving all the necessary textbooks at the primary and secondary levels.
An allocation of $3 billion will be expended to purchase 502,072 more textbooks in 2024.
Meanwhile, other undertakings in the sector include the national school feeding programme, “Because We Care’, uniform cash grants, and school supplies grants for teachers.
This year, $8.1 billion will be invested to continue the rolling out of the ‘Because We Care’ cash and uniform grants benefitting 205,305 students from public and private schools. Each child will receive $45,000.
Additionally, to improve attendance and attentiveness in classrooms, some $4.9 billion has been set aside to provide juice, biscuits, breakfast, and hot meals to 126,170 children.
With an allocation of $3.1 billion, teachers will also receive the school supplies cash grant to purchase the relevant janitorial, field, and office supplies for their classrooms.