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Education Ministry cancels August term exams as disruptions persist

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The Ministry of Education, via a memorandum issued on Wednesday, notified education officers that the public school examinations scheduled for the end of this current (August) term are cancelled.

Chief Education Officer Saddam Hussain, in the memorandum, said this decision was taken due to disruptions in teaching this term.

Several decisions were made “given the number of weeks of instructions already lost and the limited number of weeks remaining in the school year.”

In the memorandum, the Chief Education Officer said no public primary or secondary school is to conduct annual examinations in the August term of 2024. Instead, he said all schools are to conduct continuous assessments in the current term.

Mr. Hussain also said the end of the year for Grade Nine should not be the main criterion for placing Grade Nine students into streams. Consideration, the memorandum noted, must be given to the students’ choice of stream.

The National Grade Five assessment will, however, be administered as usual.

Though no direct reference was made, the strike action organised by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) resulted in disruptions to classroom engagements.

An initial five-week strike began on February 5, with teachers demanding higher salary increases and duty-free concessions, among other benefits. Since then there has been a court-mediated process of engagement between the Education Ministry, court action and more recently, conciliation engagements.

Teachers engaged in strike action again this week as the conciliation process unfolded. As the two sides hope to end the ongoing deadlock, the Union and Ministry will again meet next week.

Already though, Education Minister Priya Manickchand has called for “sense to prevail”, noting that any disruptions will result in learning losses for students.

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