Bratislava, February 2 (TASR) – Drums, whistles, rattles and bells resounded in front of the Parliament building in Bratislava on Tuesday afternoon, as about 200 teachers, pupils and their parents voiced their dissatisfaction with Government’s alleged inactivity concerning the teachers’ situation.
Demonstrators chose this venue due to the extraordinary session of the Parliamentary Education, Science, Youth and Sport Committee that was due to start at 2 p.m. In reference to the series of Smer-SD billboards saying ‘we protect Slovakia’, people were carrying banners saying ‘do you protect Slovakia from education?’. Other banners read ‘it’s not only about salaries’, ‘we’ll endure’ and ‘we’re fighting for better education in Slovakia’.
“We wanted to make their session more pleasant, so they can hear that the street isn’t empty,” said Lubos Sibert of the Slovak Teachers Initiative (ISU), which organised the strike on January 25.
“It’s time for the Government to take action. We’re waiting for their response. We’re glad that we’ve been taken more seriously,” said one of teachers attending the demonstration.
“We’re working with children 24/7 and answering calls of their parents until late evening,” said ISU’s Viktor Krizo.
He thinks it’s time for the politicians to show us what they can do for us. After all, “they’re paid out of our taxes.”
“The strike is a significant step at the EU level. We’ve been watched by people all around the world. They’re positively surprised that this former socialist country has finally waken up. It’s an important moment in Slovakia’s history,” added Krizo.
Demonstrators are also set to express their discontent with education in Slovakia at SNP Square at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
The extraordinary parliamentary committee session was convened by its chairman Mojmir Mamojka. Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Juraj Draxler, representatives of ISU and the Teachers Union chair Pavel Ondek were present as well.
Those that were present arrived at a conclusion that teachers’ salaries and financing of the education will be dealt with after the general election on March 5. Committee members called on all political parties that run in the election to publicly declare their commitment to approve a national education programme for 2016-20.
Some teachers joined the wildcat strike on Monday, January 25, citing long-term ignoring of the demands of the teaching community, trade unions and professional organisations involved in the education sector concerning adequate financing for schools.