Teachers Rally in Banska Bystrica, Receive Endorsement from Handzus

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Teachers rallying in Banska Bystrica.

Banska Bystrica, January 29 (TASR) – Banska Bystrica’s SNP Square brimmed with teachers on Friday afternoon, with some 600-plus educators taking to the streets to shore up the calls of hundreds of teachers currently on strike for increased funding for the sector and a rise to what they see as their incommensurate salaries, TASR learnt on Friday.

The teachers, who have been on strike for five days now, were also endorsed in person by renowned Slovak ice hockey player Michal Handzus. “Don’t listen to the negative talk. Over 11,000 teachers is a huge number, you can be proud of yourselves, of uniting and sticking together like this. I greatly appreciate the fact that you didn’t keep mum. One must persevere,” Handzus told the crowd, which also included teachers from as far away as Bratislava and Martin (Zilina region).

Handzus said that, as a father of two children who will attend school one day, he’s not indifferent to the conditions under which classes take place.

“I view this strike as a last-ditch effort to change things. I believe that in a democratic society it’s important to speak up when something isn’t right. We as a society are proud of you,” said Handzus.

ISU’s Ondrej Pastierik, a teacher from the village of Badin near Banska Bystrica, said that the teachers are ready to stick to the strike next week, as well. “I believe that a decision will be made next week and that things will move forward,” he said. That things are moving ahead is attested to by a meeting that ISU representatives held with head of state Andrej Kiska at the Presidential Palace earlier this week, he posited.

Pastierik went on to dismiss figures of the Education, Science, Research and Sport Ministry on the number of schools involved in the strike as untrue. “The fact is that some schools may drop out, some others may join in. More schools will be joining as of Tuesday,” said Pastierik.

More rallies and protests including human chains are set to take place in several Slovak cities and towns next week.