Staff adequate at most schools as new term begins By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
September 3, 2002

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AT THE start of the new school year yesterday, most schools seemed to be adequately staffed, except for some instances where teachers have proceeded on leave.

Following the recruitment of local teachers by authorities from the United States earlier this year, there was wide speculation that there would have been a mass migration of tutors, thus causing a severe shortage and disrupting the effective functioning of Government-run schools.

A check at several institutions in Georgetown yesterday revealed that the situation was relatively stable, but Queen's College seemed to be severely hit, with about 12 vacancies, a source said.

However, it is anticipated that several of those vacancies will be filled shortly with a number of students who performed well at the GCE Advanced Level and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency examinations taking up appointments as teachers.

Meanwhile, at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) where there was also speculation that many staffers would have left, the situation was normal. A source said all the staff on the job during last term resumed duty, but opined that it might be a little too early to anticipate the fluidity of the situation.

Before the start of the new school year, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Hydar Ally had said the ministry was unaware of any anticipated mass migration of teachers, but should such a situation arise, it will not pose a major difficulty because of the intensified teacher training programme from which about 600 teachers graduate every year.

Ally said in the past the ministry was able to cope with such difficulties, noting the situation when a large number of teachers left for Botswana. He observed too, that teacher migration is not only a problem for Guyana, pointing out that 600 teachers will be leaving the Jamaican school system for U.S. schools in the new school year starting this month.

Yesterday, Ally confirmed that there was no major hitch on the first day of the new school year, and said from reports he has had, there has not been any dramatic change in staffing.

Touching on the functioning of schools, he told the Chronicle that he is upbeat about progress on the functioning of the new Sophia Primary School in Georgetown, pointing out that registration numbers are continuously increasing.

He explained that the school will save parents a lot of money and inconvenience because prior to its establishment, children in the Sophia area had to travel to schools that are located long distances away.

However, he pointed out that the opening of the Enmore/Hope Primary School, East Coast Demerara, has been delayed because repairs to it have not been completed.

It is expected to remain closed for an additional week by which time all the remaining work will be done.