Schools in Guyana May Remain Open During Summer Vacation Because of Learning Loss Due to COVID

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Schools may remain open during the July-August period, which is usually the start of the summer vacation, to address worrying learning loss attributed to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Minister Priya Manickchand has announced.

MANicPYMinister of Education Priya Manickchand engaging Grade Seven students at Queen’s College on May 3rd.With students at all levels back in the classrooms as the phased reopening of schools was completed on Tuesday, Manickchand said that based on initial observations, more teaching might be necessary during that period when schools are usually closed.

She said the time would be used to fill in the gaps for students who have been away from school for close to two years due to the pandemic.

Noting that many people do not fully understand the impact that school closures have had on children, the Education Minister said: “We have to find ways to ensure that these children get exposed to the hours of education that they need, that we have parents that are interested and their attitudes are right. We may have to work into July/August.”

Manhickhand explained that diagnostic assessments have been done to determine where students are academically relative to where they need to be, so that teachers will know how to engage them in the classroom.

Additionally, she said, the Ministry produced a consolidated curriculum to have students exposed to what they would have learned in their previous year.

She said that of the 40 weeks of engagement, the first 20 weeks will be dedicated to content a student should have done in their previous grade/class and the final 20 weeks will focus on what they should be learning in their current grade/class.

“Those changes are necessary if we’re not to be suffering from the effects of COVID five years from now. What we have seen academically is worrying and parents need to pay attention to what we are asking of them so that they can make sure their children are benefitting from the kind of accelerated learning that we need at this stage,” Minister Manickchand noted.