I have to express my opinion on the concerns raised by some parents regarding the contingency plan that may be activated by the Education Ministry should strike action proceed.
Understandably, a few parents are concerned that trainee teachers or teachers now graduating from the Cyril Potter College of Education may not be competent enough to teach their children.
I believe the concern of these parents is based on the lack of experience that these teachers may have in the classroom and in schools generally. However, I urge parents to be rational. Every teacher has his or her first day, whether during times of an industrial relations impasse or not.
So it would not be prudent to criticise the new teachers saying that they cannot handle the work since the teachers that will be striking also had their first day as well. Secondly, parents must remember that strikes do not last forever, hence, the new teachers are substitutes and the substantive teachers for the respective classes will return and continue from where the substitutes would have left off.
Debasing the competence of our teachers is debasing the quality of education and training that is delivered at the CPCE, an institution that has been training teachers since the 1920s. The same college that trained the majority of teachers that have indicated their willingness to strike.
At this point, I wish to condemn the comments made by a parent at a recent engagement on the teachers’ strike action that was held by the Ministry of Education at Queen’s College. The parent said that, “The Children will chew them up? Them meaning the CPCE students.
As a parent, my priority at this moment is the continued progress of my children’s education. During this dispute, my children and I are held as human shields between the warring factions.
But I am going to point something out. The integrity and focus of the Minister of Education, says to me that she does not intend to be side-tracked by histrionics and people who present strategies that are not even based on basic mathematical national economics. I believe that my children’s education path is very safe with this Minister because she understands that quality education is for all Guyanese and that includes my children.
For the first time in generations of my family, I see a future for my children in education. The Teachers’ Union needs to understand that they are part of this transformation and an uninformed demand is very different from intelligent negotiations.
May the gods bless the Teachers’ Union with wisdom and the Ministry with patience. Together we rise, divided we fall.
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