Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 15 March 2018 13:23

Response to issues highlighted in the Press.

These are responses to a number of issues that would have been in the press recently.

1. New Amsterdam Multilateral School

Regarding the recent matter concerning two teachers at the New Amsterdam Multilateral School, the Ministry of Education had intervened and the outcome of the situation is that both teachers have been transferred to two different secondary schools within the education district.

2. Zeeburg Secondary School

A fact-finding exercise was carried out at the Zeeburg Secondary School following a letter that was published in the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper on Thursday, February 22nd, 2018 entitled “The nonsense at Zeeburg Secondary School must stop”.
The team that conducted this exercise comprised of the Regional Education Officer, two District Education Officers and the Senior Schools Welfare Officer. Both the Headteacher and the Deputy Headteacher were actively involved in the process.
Firstly, there was no barring of students from attending the Career Day activity at the University of Guyana. Secondly, regarding the take-away-lunch activity, students were not required to pay the exorbitant prices for lunch and a drink. The prices quoted in the published letter were grossly inaccurate since the children paid far less for the items.
Another inaccurate allegation made in the missive is that the Headteacher of the school uses her office to run a lucrative ‘cook house’ while at the same time demanding and squeezing monies from parents to sustain this industry at the school.
However, investigation revealed that the Headteacher usually assists the school in the preparation of food whenever there is an activity at the school which were always done free in order to ‘cut cost’. In some instances, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) supplied the ingredients and the Headteacher prepared the food.
Further, as it relates to fifth form students being barred from writing their mock exams if they did not ‘pay up’, this is completely false. No student was told that they will be debarred from writing the Grade Eleven Mock Examinations if they did not pay. Every child was given an opportunity to write the examinations.
Another inaccuracy was that the decision to change the colour of the school’s uniform was made by the Headteacher. The parents made the decision in September 2017 to change the colour to lime green. There was evidence to show that a wide cross section of the PTA was consulted in the selection process.
As it relates to children being asked to remove their socks if it isn’t black, the school rules clearly state that the girls must wear white socks and the boys must wear black. Any other colour is a contravention of those rules.
The letter also mentioned that certain ethnic groups are being targeted because of their hair and being told to cut it low. An investigation revealed that no child is being targeted because of their hairstyle. Students are simply being encouraged to follow the school rules.
Additionally, the names of the students that have outstanding items for the school were placed on a board at the last PTA meeting. However, this was done in an effort to recover outstanding raffle sheets (for audit purposes) and text books from students who have books from previous grades.
The letter said that parents cannot voice their concerns, this too is furthest from the truth. Parents are always encouraged to voice their concerns. At the last Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting, parents were encouraged to come forward and speak through the microphone so that everyone can hear their concerns.
Lastly, concerning the allegation that children were seen climbing and clinging to walls to clean the school, this too was disproved by the investigation that was carried out. Students had assisted in the cleaning of the school, for Culture Day in keeping with the Standard Operational Procedures. No student was seen climbing and clinging to walls as they were closely monitored by their class teachers.

3. Cottage Nursery School

The following serves as a response to a letter published in the Kaieteur News on February 13th, 2018 entitled “A most dysfunctional school.”
The author of that letter states that the Headteacher of the school believes she is above the law and has been attending the University of Guyana for years now. However, since her appointment in 2013, the headteacher’s administrative guidance and supervision are conducted with directions from her senior officer at the Department of Education.
Also, it is through that office that her attendance to the University of Guyana was processed and forwarded to the Ministry of Education and approved. Moreover, the headteacher has not been collecting cash and gifts from parents in exchange for additional attention to be paid to specific students.
The letter writer said that there is a teacher at the school who is a Jehovah’s Witness and enforces her religious practices on students. However, this is furthest from the truth. There are three prayers recited daily in the school, all of which are found in the school’s manual. Further, the school’s song, pledge and motto are recited and sang on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively.
Additionally, any administration of punishment that is against what is prescribed by the Ministry of Education has been addressed in the past and no longer persists.

4. Mckenzie High School
As it relates to an article published in the Kaieteur News on March 6th, 2018 entitled “Region Ten still battling with education issues, an investigation was carried out by senior education officials and the allegations made regarding the situation at the McKenzie High School all turned out to be untrue. The Ministry of Education had discussions with members of the Regional Education Committee (REC) and members informed that they are unaware of the issues that were articulated in the KN article.

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