Czech teachers to strike against poor conditions in education sector
Following the weekend, it is clear that nothing will now prevent a teachers’ strike from going ahead on Tuesday: acting Education Minister Martin Bursik and the candidate for the post, Ondrej Liska, tried to stave off the planned protest by pledging to improve conditions in the education sector, but it was too little, too late. The December 4th strike will go ahead. It has been estimated that at least half of the country’s schools will remain closed.
“We want to make clear that the strike is not about the incoming education minister: it’s a strike in favour of schooling, a good education system, and satisfied students. The satisfaction needed is missing, and the one billion, and it’s not even that, it’s 933 million crowns, is just a ‘Band-Aid’ solution. I want to stress that we will not hold students hostage: it is us, as employees in the education sector, who are have been held hostage for a very long time.”
Continued low pay for teachers, which averages 14,000 or 15,000 crowns per month for starting salaries, is not the only problem that teachers want addressed: many would like to see changes in the sector to better reward teachers for individual effort. That means school principals would be able to raise salaries to properly mirror output and performance. Currently teachers are paid according to a pay scale that recognises professional qualification and seniority, but does little to reward initiative: innovative projects or extra work. As it stands, most Czech teachers now feel – at least from a financial perspective – that their profession is not rewarding enough.