As part of its Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed with the Education Ministry, the
General Secretary of GTU Coretta McDonald
Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) is calling for the review of the ratio of students to teachers.
The Union has made this proposal on the grounds of bargaining for better terms and conditions of employment for teachers/teacher educators within the public education sector.
Based on assessments that have been made by the Union in regards to the effects of a large ratio of students to one teacher, there are evidently a number of shortcomings that are resulted.
Speaking with Guyana Times, General Secretary of the GTU Coretta McDonald, she explained that the Union has recognised that classroom teaching will be more effective if there were smaller class sizes, which would benefit both teachers and students.
As such, the Union had much reason for making the proposal with the interest of the general education sector at heart.
McDonald reported that in the Education Act, it was passed that there be a reduction of students that are in one class, but they are calling for these figures to be further broken down to effectuate advanced teaching techniques.
Explaining why the proposal was made, she informed that as it is known, when students enter a class, there is a combination of different personalities, various levels of learning capabilities, ranging from ‘highflyers’ to ‘weak’ and a number of necessities that each posses.
The task of meeting these requirements to ensure that each student is equally and adequately catered for is thus left for the teachers to manage which in most instances poses a challenge and results inefficient teaching mechanisms.
In addition, McDonald informed that there have been situations where parents have complained about their children not receiving ample attention from their teachers since their books were not being ‘marked’ frequently and they were lagging behind.
Given that the MoA is approved, this conflict will no longer exist as teachers can have efficient time for one-on-one interactions with students which will see the improvement of the class’s academic performance, and further the school’s; thus leading up to the general advancement of the public education sector.
Basing on the physical aspect, she made note that most of the schools in Guyana are not very large, so the class sizes are significantly small and with a large amount of students, there is overcrowding, which further diminishes the deliverance of education, since teachers cannot freely move around to have productive interactions.
These proposals, however, will seek to ensure that these specific conditions are addressed so that teachers will be more comfortable, students will be able to gain more and parents will be satisfies, which would then transform the education sector and rebuild Guyana’s capacity of delivering education at a paramount level.
The ratio of students to teachers has been agreed and listed in the MoA as 15 students to one teacher for nursery schools; 20 to one for Grades One and Two; 25 to one for Grades Three throughout Six; 25 to one for secondary schools and 15 to one for practical instructional centres.