The Daily Herald – Department for Education plans to keep schools open over summer holidays to tackle learning loss

Education Minister Priya Manickchand.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana–With schools now fully reopened for face-to-face learning after two years of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education is considering the possibility of keeping schools open during the next July-August break to counter learning losses.

This was revealed by Education Minister Priya Manickchand during an interview with the Department of Public Information on Tuesday.

“We need to find ways to make sure these kids are exposed to the hours of instruction they need… We may have to work until July-August,” she revealed.

“How we proceed will depend on who is ready to work,” added the Minister of Education.

The full reopening of schools has been executed using a phased approach. By the end of the first week of reopening, all classes were integrated into the system. Mechanisms for safe distancing and disinfection have already been put in place at the various facilities.

The full reopening comes more than two years after the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, forcing closure to reduce the spread of infection. Previously, some courses were hosted in classrooms while others remained online.

A few months ago, the Department of Education launched its recovery operation in all 11 school districts to track down elementary school students who had been continuously absent from school and those who had missed recent mock school exams. Grade Six National Assessment (NGSA).

In April, Education Minister Manickchand began consulting with stakeholders to expand the program.

It was explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the education sector in two fundamental ways: the loss of teaching time and the loss of learning due to the closure of schools for more than 18 month. Manickchand had said that, recognizing the need to mitigate the long-term effects of school closures, the ministry had moved towards a gradual reopening.

An analysis of learner attendance data revealed that some learners were not attending school as they should. Operation Recovery aims to get students back to school, and the goals of the program are to locate and retain learners, as well as engage and support them.

Through meetings with students, we learned that the reasons for absenteeism range from poverty to “neglect”.

The Ministry of Education stressed that urgent, practical and sustained measures such as teaching and learning from a consolidated curriculum; the supply of textbooks; teacher retraining; using technology in the classroom; and Operation Recovery would mitigate the expected losses to our students and our country. ~ iNews Guyana ~