Safety and Health of Teachers and Students Paramount to Reopening of Schools: Education Minister

Priya Manickchand, Minister of Education, being interviewed shortly after her inauguration on Aug 5th, 2020.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Aug. 6, CMC – Newly appointed Education Minister Priya Manickchand, has stated that the health and safety of children and teachers are the Ministry of Education’s top priority as the new school year approaches.

Manickchand explained that while schools should have been preparing for reopening in early September, the Ministry will be looking at the science, data and realities of Guyanese children and their families to determine the best course forward.

The Minister noted that the new administration’s focus seeks to balance their duty to keep Guyanese safe while allowing students their constitutional right to an education.

She noted, “The thing of paramount importance right now is going to be what we do when school should have been reopened. Do we open and if we open how do we keep our children and our teachers and their families safe? If we don’t, then how do we continue to engage our children?”

Reopening schools is not a one size fits all approach, instead, she opined, her ministry is looking at global best practices, taking into account Guyana’s current education system.

“It’s never going to be easy. We’re going to make sure we use science and medicine and the statistics at hand and the stories around Guyana to determine what to do, like every other country, it’s not going to be an easy question to face but I think what’s important is that we get out information to our parents and teachers,” Manickchand posited.

COVID-19 may be the primary focus of the Ministry, but the Minister is still keen on addressing other priority areas in her tenure.

Schools were closed in March amid COVID-19 concerns and reopened on June 15 for students sitting the NGSA, CSEC and CAPE examinations. – CMC