Plavcan: I Respect Everyone’s Right to Express Their Opinion

Education Minister Peter Plavcan (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 19 (TASR) – “I fully respect everyone’s right to express their opinion. However, it’s important to say that everyone expressing their opinion is responsible for the school reform’s future,” Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Peter Plavcan (SNS nominee) said Tuesday.

He was referring to Tuesday’s protest of some 4,000 dissatisfied teachers, organised by the Slovak Education and Science Trade Union (OZPSaV), that began in front of Government Office at 2 p.m.

According to Plavcan, the reforms at the grade school level emerged as a document drafted by almost 30 organisations, initiatives and school trade unions. “This document, which was created based on a broad agreement, for the first time includes particular figures such as growth of €2 billion in funding over four years. It also includes wage tariffs that appeared there for the first time, too,” stated the minister.

Plavcan finds the figures included in this document to be a necessary minimum. “At the moment we’re striving to take the first steps so that we can start working on the Government Manifesto’s fulfilment following its approval and make its first results visible as soon as possible,” he said.

Plavcan expects the Government Manifesto to be approved by the end of the week. Subsequently, the Education Ministry will prepare, within a month, a document outlining the tasks it will be able to fulfil as early as this year.

“Thereby, we would like to convince all the stakeholders involved – political parties, legislators and the Government – of the fact we are able to carry out the school reform. Based on this, we will seek its funding over and above the framework defined in the Government Manifesto,” Plavcan explained.

He suggests that completing the reform will require higher financial resources than currently envisaged. Nonetheless, he considers the Government Manifesto to be good, adding it should improve the lives of teachers and students.

Teachers have gathered in Bratislava’s downtown on Tuesday afternoon to express their dissatisfaction over the Government Manifesto in the education sector. Organisations in the educational field appreciate that some systemic changes leading towards improvement of the situation in the sector have been included in the Manifesto. However, they are dissatisfied with insufficient financial underpinnings of these changes – chiefly concerning the ‘dignified position of school employees’.

The protest is making its way to the gates of Parliament.