Swift action by the regional administration and the Department of Education of Region Ten averted another protest planned by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of the Kwakwani Secondary School, which will now benefit from two additional teachers, with another two to be added to the staff by weekend.
Parents said they had indicated at a PTA meeting called on Monday that they were prepared to close the school and take to the street with their children to force the regional authorities to address their concerns. Parents believe that the Teaching Service Commission has been sluggish in approving the applications of teachers who were willing to work at the Upper Berbice River school and that the dearth of a full complement of teachers put their children at a disadvantage.
“Up here at the Kwakwani Secondary, we have classes where children in the Form Two and other classes… that have only been doing two subjects, when they supposed to be doing a whole lot more,” a parent told Stabroek News. She also said she was concerned about over-crowded classrooms.
According to the parent, the school has had a shortage of teachers for some time now and she believes the situation could be alleviated with the addition of four trained teachers.
Newly-installed Region Ten Chairman Sharma Solomon told this newspaper that his office was informed of the intended strike action and quickly got on the ball to avert it. He said a meeting was convened with Regional Vice-Chairman Byrone Lewis, Regional Executive Officer Yolanda Hilliman, the acting Regional Education Officer and others to draft a remedial plan. The team then travelled to the Berbice River community on Tuesday to meet with the school’s administration.
“They came in well prepared; they came with two teachers who are going to start working tomorrow and promise that we are going to have two others by the end of the week,” a teacher told this newspaper.
Solomon confirmed these appointments. He also said that by the end of the week, an additional two teachers would be taking up appointments at the school. According to the Chairman, on Monday the team that visited the area also investigated other issues that parents had raised during a protest action in early January.
In addition, Solomon, Lewis along with parliamentarians Vanessa Kissoon and Renis Morian are expected to meet with the Kwakwani community some time next week to address other issues that are affecting residents; the main ones being the state of the roads, electricity and water supply.