Thousands prepare to return to school tomorrow By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
September 1, 2002

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THE new school year begins tomorrow as thousands of children return to their classrooms following a two-month vacation.

During the summer holidays, schools carried out registration exercises and orientation programmes for new students and thousands of secondary school students completed work-study programmes at various Government Ministries and agencies as well.

The Ministry of Education also conducted upgrading courses for teachers and seminars for parents on their responsibility for their children's education.

According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Hydar Ally, plans and preparations for the reopening of schools are in place and he does not foresee any major difficulties.

However, he pointed out that the opening of two schools will be delayed due to repairs taking place.

Ally explained that one of the buildings at the Campbellville Secondary School, Georgetown, is being rehabilitated to accommodate the first formers and this will take about an extra week. First-formers at Central High School, also in the city, will need to stay home for an additional two to three days because of repairs to sanitary facilities.

Accommodation at the Tutorial Secondary School, Georgetown, will be boosted with the completion of a new wing which will significantly relieve the congestion which existed there.

As regards staffing at schools, Ally said he is not aware that there would be any major problem, but pointed out that by the middle of this week he would be able to pronounce more definitively on the issue. However, he disclosed that the ministry may have to institute a teacher rationalisation programme during the new school year because of overstaffing in some regions and understaffing in others.

The ministry will also be closely monitoring efforts by teachers to upgrade their qualifications, and it is likely that those who do not make efforts to improve theirs may be removed from the system.

Tomorrow, it is estimated that 15,000 students who wrote the Secondary School Entrance Examination (SSEE) will take up their places at secondary schools and thousands from nursery will enter the primary system, while an estimated 12,000 will graduate from secondary to tertiary institutions or into the world of work.

September, which is designated Education Month, will also see many special events and activities taking place. These include a message by the Chief Education Officer, several competitions and exhibitions, among others.