The new school term began in Guyana yesterday with teachers staying away from the classrooms in support of the demands of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) for a 40 per cent salary increase.
Teachers picketed outside the Ministry of Education even as the government issued a statement indicating that schools across the country opened yesterday after the summer holidays.
GTU general secretary, Coretta McDonald, was quoted by the Guyana-based on line publication, News Source, as saying that the union is standing firm to its position and that today, teachers should take a day off from the picket line and stay home and then return to the protest line for the remaining days of the week.
Meanwhile, with teachers around the country on strike, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry is actively engaged in attempting to hire “temporary” replacements to keep schools open.
“The ministry is recruiting temporary teachers at this time,” Henry told a press conference last evening, while adding that her officers have been in touch with applicants on file and asked the Teaching Service Commission to provide a list by region of those who had passed their recruitment process.
Henry said a total of 2,500 persons are available for temporary placement, inclusive of applicants on file, student teachers from the Cyril Potter College of Education, retired teachers.
Last week, President David Granger described as “an unhappy resort” the decision to have retired and student teachers to take over classrooms in the country abandoned by teachers.