Since start of academic year 261 teachers have left
Secondary schools may have to share resources
Stabroek News
December 1, 2001

A total of 261 teachers have left the education system since the start of the current academic year and to cushion the impact of this loss secondary schools may have to share resources and technology, acting Chief Education Officer Genevieve Whyte-Nedd said.

The country's premier secondary school, Queen's College alone lost 18 teachers. Generally, the majority of those who left were in the science and technical/vocational streams.

Responding to a question on teachers migration at a press conference hosted on Thursday by Education Minister Dr Henry Jeffrey at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development, Whyte-Nedd said that the majority of those who left were from the secondary levels but at the time she was not in a position at the press conference to provide a breakdown.

To deal with the teacher shortage created by the migration, Whyte-Nedd said that the ministry would have to make a conscious effort to share human resources with a number of secondary schools within a cluster.

Through a number of projects the ministry is currently executing, she said "we are recognising more and more that we need to use the technologies, not to replace the teacher, but to train our students to become independent." Through the use of technology, such as looking at a video or listening to a cassette to obtain information and to complete assignments, she said that students will engage in self-learning.

Dr Jeffrey noted that the ministry will also have to continuously recruit and train teachers. The ministry is also seeking to improve and expand teaching by the distance education mode which is now being piloted. "We can only train", right now Dr Jeffrey said adding that "we can never pay to be competitive."

As an incentive to teachers, he said that the ministry is working on its promise to provide teachers with house lots. To this end, he said that the Education Ministry in collaboration with the Housing Ministry has given to the Guyana Teachers' Union, 3,000 application forms for house lots to distribute to its members.

However, he is not optimistic about the house lot distribution restating what he had said at an earlier event that the "it might be a bad thing." He said it may be another incentive for "teachers to leave as they may want to leave to make quick money to build their houses." Teachers, he said may ask themselves why should they take a mortgage for 20 or 30 years when they could go to America and in a year or so gather enough money to build a house. However, he said that government has committed itself to the house lot distribution to teachers and is now doing so. (Miranda La Rose)