By Indrawattie Natram
Neatly dressed in their new outfit, majority of teachers from various catchment areas in Region Two showed up in their numbers for school on Monday amid a nationwide strike by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) for increase in salary.
Children were seen as early as 07:00hrs entering various schools. Registrations were also ongoing for the new academic school term 2018-2019 at various nursery, primary and secondary schools.
However, around 09:00 hours a group of approximately 50 teachers gathered in front of the Department of Education protesting. Teachers who hailed from Abram Zuil Secondary, Johanna Cecelia Secondary, Charity Secondary, Charity Nursery, Cotton Field Secondary and Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary School protested for better wages and allowances. They all chanted “Pay us our cash, we don’t want a clash”.
The protest by the teachers lasted about two hours after which they were seen hanging around snackettes in the area. According to the educators , they will remain on strike until it is called off by the GTU.
Meanwhile, during visits to several schools in the region Guyana Chronicle observed classes were in session with only two or three teachers absent in some cases. According to Regional Education Officer, Miss Nicola Matthews who was visiting schools , most of the teachers are at work.
She said most of those who stayed home are on Whitley Council leave. When asked if the department has an alternative should more teachers join the strike, Matthews responded in the affirmative.
The Department of Education officials conducted extensive visits to schools ensuring that classes were convened. At Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary School (ARMS) only three teachers were absent and the school recorded an attendance of 600. At Aurora Secondary School there was 100% attendance by teachers.
Region Two Guyana Teachers Union Representative Mrs. Desiree Vanlewin said that teachers in Region Two will continue to strike if their demands are not met by the government. According to Desiree 75% of teachers in Region Two joined the strike, however the Department of Education had contrary reports.
Meanwhile , in Region Three during visits to various schools , it was observed that children came out in their numbers as parents were also seen taking children to the schools.