#National News

GTU calls on gov’t to consider the interest of students

May 14, 2020, 12:46 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) said government must take appropriate response to covid-19 in the education sector which will consider the rights and best interest of students, teachers and education support personnel.

The Union said government must develop strategies to address the consequences of the impact of the global health pandemic, in close collaboration with the union.

“The salaries, terms and conditions of teachers and education support personnel at all levels should be protected at all time during and after the covid-19 crisis,” the union said in a statement, adding that educators must be remunerated as usual during closure periods.

The union further called on government to ensure the provision of psychosocial support, including counseling services to all affected students, teachers and education support personnel in order to ensure their well-being as the trauma associated with covid-19 can be devastating to students and educators who lost their loved ones.

It also urged the government to support private schools that are hit by the pandemic, saying they run a very high risk of total collapse without government’s intervention or bail out.

It appealed to the Ministries of Health and Education to work together to develop and communicate well-defined time line to re-open schools, saying that as a union, there are lots of things they are doing in collaboration with the Ministry of Education which they hope will bear positive fruits soon enough.

The union called on education authorities to ensure regular and timely information and updates to all employees in the sector aiming to minimize uncertainty and related stress and anxiety.

A UNESCO report indicated a devastating impact of over 1.5 billion students being affected due to school closure in 165 countries as of March 26th 2020.

This is more than 87% of all registered students, over 63 million teachers with a large number of education support personnel also being affected by the pandemic giving these unprecedented developments, and as such the union said the virus has become an education crisis.

With the length of school closures causing major disruption in the education of millions of students, the union also called for measures to be put in place to minimize the impact on the provision of education.

The union also appealed to its members and the public to fully adhere to the health guidelines by frequently washing their hands, sanitizing, cleaning their environment, avoid hand shaking and to observe social distancing.