Feb 22, 2009 News
Berbice High School protest…
– Min. Baksh
The parents of the students who were involved in the protest action at the Berbice High School on Friday are being misled by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU). This is according to Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, who in an invited comment said that some of the parents are being misinformed about the situation by persons who have their own agenda.
“No parent would want his or her children to be flogged indiscriminately… It’s a sad thing that the union has taken such actions,” Minister Baksh said.
Minister Baksh explained that he finds it surprising that the union would want to resort to such actions which are currently affecting the children’s education.
“I don’t know why the union wants to do this, to the detriment of the children. The curriculum is being affected.”
Minister Baksh reiterated that the Ministry will not sit idly by and allow teachers to breach the manual and ‘get away with it’. He added that he would not allow the union to frustrate the process.
Kaieteur News was told that the protest was organised by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of the school and, according to Minister Baksh, the Education Ministry will now have to deal with all PTAs differently in the future, since associations that involve themselves in actions like these will not be recognised by the Ministry.
He noted that the Ministry will look for PTAs that have the interest of the students at heart.
According to Baksh, the issue is still in the hands of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), which has to make the ultimate decision on whether or not the teacher should be returned from leave.
Meanwhile President of the GTU, Colwyn King, is still of the view that an investigation was carried out into the matter and that the teacher should be reinstated. He added that the industrial action by the GTU is still ongoing, as all teachers will ‘work to rule’.
So far, Golden Grove Primary on East Coast Demerara and Friendship Secondary School on East Bank Demerara are already participating in the action.
President’s College will also be part of the strike from Tuesday, King said.
According to King, rules are established regarding the number of students that should be in a class, and currently teachers are teaching more than what is established. He explained that if the teachers should work according to that rule, then it would only create confusion in the schools.
On Friday, the students of Berbice High School and some parents staged a protest in front of the school, calling on the Education Ministry to reinstate the teacher, Miss Jeanne Jeffrey, who was suspended from duty after being accused of flogging 28 students in the classroom for not submitting their assignments.
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