Pellegrini: There Should Be Fewer Schools in Slovakia

Deputy Prime Minister for Investments Peter Pellegrini (stock photo by TASR)

(RTVS, April 24, ‘O 5 Minut 12’)

There could be fewer primary and secondary schools as well as universities and teachers at the end of this Cabinet’s term, said Deputy Prime Minister for Investments Peter Pellegrini on RTVS’s discussion show ‘O 5 Minut 12’ (Five Minutes to Twelve) on Sunday.

“I think that we have to cut the number of primary and secondary schools and of universities as well as teachers. Even the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development stated that we have too few children per teacher compared to the EU average,” says Pellegrini.

Pellegrini stated that the Government Manifesto deals with the education system and increases in teachers’ salaries sufficiently. In addition to the fact that salaries went up by 4 percent as of January 1, the Manifesto suggests that teachers’ salaries at virtually all types of schools should go up by 6 percent on average as of September 1. At the same time a scheme has been introduced to hike teachers’ salaries on an annual basis as of January 1, 2018. The Government has pledged to introduce significant internal changes in the education system along with the aforementioned annual salary hikes, with a total of €2 billion more being allocated for the sector in the 2016-20 election term. The goal is to reach the EU average in spending per GDP at the end of this period.

At the same time he noted that no one can claim a higher salary just because he’s been teaching for 30 years. “Salaries should go higher only when someone’s doing their job perfectly and I think that even a 35-year-old teacher can do that,” explained Pellegrini.

According to Parliamentary Vice-Chair Lucia Nicholsonova (SaS), the alpha and omega of the education system is its bad financing structure. “There’s a lack of money in the education system long term. It’s not only a critique of the previous Government but also of all other governments. We need to make those finances more transparent and more effective. This goes hand in hand with the reform of the education system,” stressed Nicholsonova.

Leaderships of individual schools should be able to manage their facilities more freely. “If we do this, the competition among individual schools will be on and we should also introduce some criteria of quality measurement. Let’s not pretend that all schools are at the same level,” she added.