Commenting on the nationwide teachers strike initiated by the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), Headmistress of Bishops’ High School, Shandrina Welcome-Lee said, “I cannot sit and stifle my conscience and say things haven’t improved.”

In a candid discussion on NCN, the headmistress acknowledged existing issues within the education system and expressed her firm stance against participating in the protest as a means to the solution.

Articulating her rationale for abstaining from the strike, Welcome-Lee said, “I don’t do anything I don’t believe in. So, if I don’t believe in it or I don’t see a good reason for it, I’m not going to do it. If I see a good reason for it and I’m going to do it. So, I didn’t strike because I don’t believe in this strike.”

While recognizing ongoing challenges faced in the education system, she pointed out the positive strides made under the current Ministry of Education leadership. Welcome-Lee said, “Yes, we have grounds, we have issues. There are (always) things that need to be improved always, and I need to emphasize that nothing is ever perfect. Life itself is not perfect. But you cannot deny the fact that there has been improvement.”

To this end, she commended the ministry, particularly the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand and her team, for their efforts to enhance education and support teachers.

Moreover, addressing controversies surrounding the strike, Welcome-Lee urged for mutual respect among educators. She condemned attacks on fellow teachers and advocated for constructive dialogue focused on policy issues rather than personal attacks. The headmistress emphasised the role of educators as role models, called for an end to divisive behavior and encouraged a culture of professionalism and collaboration within the teaching community.

Notably, Welcome-Lee acknowledged the importance of individualism in decision-making, affirming teachers’ rights to choose their course of action regarding strikes.

She stated, “If you feel like striking, I don’t have a problem with you doing that. But when I say I’m not striking, you shouldn’t have a problem with it either, because I am a freethinking human being. I have a brain of my own, and I will make decisions for myself.”

Welcome-Lee disclosed that the teachers of the Bishops High School have chosen not to strike. She added, “And nobody pressured them into it, it’s their choice.”

In concluding, she encouraged teachers to stop attacking each other over their personal choice not to participate in the GTU’s strike. The headmistress said, “Teachers have a right, if whoever wants to go out, that’s your choice. Whoever wants to stay in and teach the children because of their own reason, that’s their choice… Let’s deal with issues instead of personalities.”


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