Guyana President wants teachers to end strike
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – President David Granger Friday described as “an unhappy resort” as retired and student teachers get ready to take over classrooms in the country abandoned by teachers who have embarked on industrial action in support of their union’s demands for a 40 per cent wage hike.
“We would prefer to have the regular teachers in the classrooms….this is an unhappy resort but it is the only way we could ensure that our students receive continuous education, more so those who are preparing for exams next year, we would prefer to have unbroken schooling for them.
“So it is a temporary measure, if you want to call it a band-aid and it is not meant to last beyond the present crisis,” Granger told a news conference, adding that his administration is seeking funding in a bid to meet the teachers’ demands.
“The government is actively searching for fresh sources of funding to satisfy the teachers’ needs,” he said.
Efforts to reach a settlement between the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) on Thursday failed with both sides sticking to their positions.
The government has said it is offering GUY$700 million to cover across the board increases and GUY$200 million to cover debunching.
The GTU said it is still pressing its demand for a 40 per cent wage hike for teachers.
The teachers began their industrial action on Monday ahead of next week’s formal opening of the new school term.
Granger, who had in the past urged the GTU to re-consider its position, told reporters that “naturally there will be problems of capacity in terms of engagement, the experienced retirees may have the knowledge (and) obviously trainee teachers are just what they are…and they would not have the knowledge to teach the children to the standard that is expected.
“So we hope that this crisis is of short duration and we could get back to normalcy. This is abnormal to have retired teachers and trainee teachers …and we hope to return to normalcy as quickly as possible,” Granger told reporters.