School may begin in January for Grade Seven students 
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WITH the results of the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) released only last Friday, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is considering reopening schools until January 2022 for the students now going into Grade Seven.

Though public schools were reopened in September, the Grade Seven students were awaiting the release of the NGSA results, which is used to determine which secondary school they will be placed at.

Speaking with the media after the announcement of the results on Friday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand explained that the ministry has not yet settled on when school will reopen for the students. However, she noted that different schools may have individualised plans, and there may not be a fixed reopening for all schools.

“They [the students] are now knowing which schools they are getting. Different schools are going to put different things in place; I suspect Online, I suspect maybe worksheets. It might be that we don’t start Grade Seven until we cut a term out of Grade Seven for this year, and we start it in January. We will tell you that as soon as we know,” Manickchand said.

This year, the NGSA results were released this month, given the fact that the examinations were only written on August 4 and 5, due to changes that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manickchand noted that there is no need for the school year to be extended for the students.

“No, it won’t be extended; what we might do is truncate. What we have done for Grade Seven is that we have a consolidated curriculum; we’ve already cut the curriculum from 40 weeks to 20 weeks. So, what we have to do is make sure we cover that, as well as work they would have missed in Grade Six,” the Education Minister explained.

Schools in Guyana were closed to face-to-face learning for more than a year, with students finally returning to the classroom in September, using individualised plans at respective schools.
However, though all grade levels were reopened for the nursery and primary schools, at the secondary schools, clearance has only been given for the return to school for Grades 10, 11 and 12 students.

The Education Minister reminded that clearance for the return to school for any level is dependent on advice from the Ministry of Health (MoH), given the COVID-19 situation.

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