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Minister: Teachers are not being punished

Education Minister Hon Emmalin Peirre has dismissed the notion that teachers return to school should be seen or feel like a punishment as it is in keeping with the transition back to work for all public officers.

From Monday June 08, 2020, Form 5 students and their teachers are expected to return to school in preparation for the sitting of the 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examination during the period July 13-30. Schools have been closed since March as the country aimed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 resulting in e-learning modalities.

June 15 will see the return of all teachers to school to start preparation of end-of-year reports for students, preparation of rooms for exams, start online registration of new students and distribute reports to parents by appointment and review guidelines and protocols.

From July 06 teachers are to finalise logistical arrangements for Summer School and selected teachers are to participate in two weeks of Professional Development activities.

July 20 – August 28, 2020 will be Teachers’ vacation and they are expected to return to work on August 31 to plan for the new school year from September. 

Thus, President General of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) Marvin Andall said the union is “moderately satisfied with that provision” understanding the importance of the CSEC exam to students. However, the issue of all teachers returning on June 15 is a “bit disheartening to us,” he said on a local social media programme on Sunday.

“We have to ensure if teachers return, it is not deemed by teachers a punishment,” Andall said, explaining that the amount of time and amount of work to be done are not corelating resulting in lag time with teachers feeling “it’s like punishment.”

He noted that it doesn’t take a teacher three weeks to prepare a report, adding that prior to COVID-19 teachers prepared reports at home while supervising their children.

“I believe what has to be done should be done and if it is not deemed necessary for people to be there for the entire three-week period, they should excuse persons,” the President said.

He is concerned that teachers will be feeling punished to be at school to get work done, they can do at home while worrying about their children at home and their safety.

Minister Pierre, who was also a guest on the said programme responded, “I can’t see any reason why we would want to think or consider punishing any teacher. We don’t think they have done anything that deserve that. The return to school falls within the domain of transition back to work for all officers within the Public Service.”

She added that the transition process has started for all who works with government or a statutory body associated to government.

Hon Pierre noted that teachers are expected to return to prepare reports and put all systems in place for the hopeful return of students back to school from September.

The Education Minister also noted that some teachers have expressed difficulty working from home; those without device or internet connectivity. However, she added that there is flexibility to the decision as discussed prior with principals and the union, that teachers who are working efficiently at home can be exempted with the principal’s permission.

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