Levice, January 27 (TASR) – Several hundred people from the ranks of teachers, parents of pupils and the general public gathered in Levice (Nitra region) on Wednesday to support the ongoing strike of teachers, TASR learnt later in the day.
Teachers from the Slovak Teachers’ Initiative (ISU) and representatives of parents, who took the floor in turns, urged increased funding for the education sector and the adoption of systemic measures to bolster the sector’s quality.
“We realise that education and health care are the two most neglected areas. If we don’t make investments into the education and health care sectors, we’ll be ill and dumb. Our results in PISA testing [OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment – ed. note] are some of the worst, our life expectancy is among the lowest. They are critical indicators that Government representatives should take into consideration,” said ISU’s Vladimir Crmoman.
“We went on strike in 2015, then a ‘relay’ strike followed, we keep sending petitions and appeals. Are we supposed to send them in on a weekly basis so they (Government) take notice? Why is money being spent on non-systemic social packages whereby pupils go to classes by train for free only to come to a school that lacks proper equipment? Why can’t all schools have equipment of the same quality? Why do a couple of schools receive microscopes and highly overpriced PC equipment while the other thousands of schools receive nothing? Why are we expected to have low-quality internet connection for €70 million? The money is there, but there’s reluctance to change things, so we have to force politicians to change that,” said Crmoman.
According to Crmoman, the rally in Levice is only one in a series of events that teachers plan following a demonstration in Bratislava on Monday. A march in Topolcany (Nitra region) was also held on Wednesday. Another rally is scheduled to take place in Nove Zamky (Nitra region) on Thursday, and gatherings featuring teachers and parents are also planned in Kosice and Banska Bystrica.
The teachers are ready to stand firm for as long as necessary, he said, adding that 11,800 teachers and over 800 schools have signed up for the strike based on the latest figures.