Georgetown – The Guyana government says all schools will re-open on April 25, as the country seeks to return to normalcy two years after recording the first case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has killed 1 226 and infected 63 195 others since then.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand said all systems are being put in place to reopen schools to address the two years of learning loss.
“Some skills that were acquired will be lost and forgotten and you might even have the phenomena of drop outs presenting itself in larger numbers than we have ever seen before and we are seeing indications of all of those things so are we ready . . . . We are making sure of course that schools are ready to be reopened fully from April 25 after the Easter holiday.”
She said to ensure teachers and students are prepared for the new term, the ministry has implemented a staggered system which will see students revisiting studies from their previous grade within a 20-week period, before moving on to the new term’s curriculum.
Additionally, the ministry is working to ensure that every school has the necessary tools and equipment to be fully functional before the new term commences.
Manickchand, speaking on the sidelines of the newly-launched artificial intelligence leadership programme, “Spark”, on Monday, also announced that a new programme will be rolled out nationally to target literacy loss in the four core subjects.
“You’re going to see an assault on illiteracy, you will see an entire national programme rolled out to recover from the literacy loss we would have had and all the gains we would have made that went down the drain in two years.
“Every single student is going to be diagnosed, we are issuing a diagnostic for Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Science – the four cores. Every student will be diagnosed and each student will be attended to individually to make sure that we recover from the COVID loss.”
Schools in Guyana were closed in March 2020 and Manickchand said the pandemic provided the ministry with the opportunity to review its literacy programme.
The programme is a product of the collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the LEAD Mindset, JASECI Labs and BCS Technology.
Manickchand said the government believes that citizens, especially young people, should be given the platform and the environment to flourish and to be all that they can be for themselves, their families, communities and the world.
“So this programme here, this partnership that we’re entering into, we jumped on it immediately because we see the potential in it. Not only will this allow you to be creators and innovators, but we hope it is going to make you all into leaders,” Manickchand remarked.
She told the ceremony that students exit the programme with more consciousness about how their skills, talents and God-given abilities can be used to make changes, provide solutions and to improve their wellbeing. A total of 136 students will be participating in the programme. (CMC)