Psychosocial needs of teachers and students

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Dear Editor:

In a letter recently to the Guyana media, social activist, Vidyartha Kissoon, opined on the need for systematic psycho-social support for students and teachers during the pandemic. The Caribbean Voice (TCV) will argue that such support needs to be ongoing, pandemic or no pandemic.

In fact, some years ago TCV, via an agreement with Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) had embarked on such a campaign, offering training in schools in regions Six, Four and Seven before being forced to cease because of a lack of response from the GTU with respect to costs sharing as the training session were proving too costly for our limited resources.

Responses from many teachers were very positive with one of them writing on FB that she was so happy that at last their psychosocial needs were being addressed.

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As well TCV had held a number of meetings with the Ministry of Education with respect to similar sessions for students which were already been offered at a number of private schools. Feedback from principals of public schools who had approached us was that we needed to get permission from the MOE so we requested an across-the-board access to public schools, since, given our limited time and resources it would eb impossible to approach the MOE each time we had to go to a school. This request was refused. However, at one meeting, MOE decided to incorporate our training curriculum into the Family Life and Heath curriculum so that it would become an available tool for all public-school students but was never done.

At the time our training were offered absolutely free of charge, with some support from the local business community) and all cost were covered by TCV.

Now TCV is making yet another offer: given the rise of virtual training which is so much more cost effective, and which enables us to draw trainers from our members across the Caribbean (we have teams & contacts in Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda, Suriname) North America and the UK (where we have membership and contacts), TCV is willing to pick up back the psycho social training campaign for teachers in collaboration with, the GTU, MOE and Ministry of Social Protection. As well we can train selected teachers across Guyana under a train the trainer program to turnkey the training to other teachers so that each school can then be able to provide necessary psychosocial support to all students. We are willing to meet to work out the details and also willing to collaborate with stakeholders in Guyana on these campaigns. We guarantee that our fees will be a fraction of whatever can be offered by entities in or out of Guyana and we are in the process of fine-tuning online training with respect to suicide and abuse prevention across the Caribbean.

Regards
Annan Boodram

The Caribbean Voice, Inc.



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