Minister Manickchand was taken out of context
On Thursday, March 31, 2012, this publication carried a story with a headline “IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE SALARY, QUIT – MANICKCHAND”.
The story gave the distinct impression that teachers at a consultation in Berbice said en masse that they did not want the automatic promotion policy to continue as they were not being paid for the remedial classes and that the Minister of Education had said to teachers that if they do not want to do the remedial classes for students as a result of the automatic promotion policy then they should quit the profession.
We are satisfied that the story inadvertently misrepresented the views of both the teachers as well as the Minister of Education.
It is true that a teacher raised the issue of payment for the remediation classes citing the needs of families of teachers. The Minister received that as one of the reasons the programme was not as successful as it was envisioned to be and duly recorded the reason.
It is also true that during the course of the day the Minister did indeed have an inspirational talk with teachers, which had absolutely nothing to do with automatic promotion and/or remediation classes, where she praised teachers for being much more than teachers every day, discussed with teachers their almost sacred duty to mould minds and emphasised that what teachers do today will determine what Guyana looks like tomorrow.
It was during this session that the Minister indicated that the ministry had no space for the handful of teachers who are comfortable with turning up to school late every day, putting their heads on a desk, not teaching and the at the end of the day saying that salary was not enough while still receiving that salary.
We apologise to the Minister and to the teachers for any confusion, hurt and/or strained relations that our story would have unintentionally caused.