SNS and OLaNO-NOVA Side with Teachers, Endorse Their Demands

The Romuald Zaymus primary school in Žilina remains shut on Tuesday.

Bratislava, January 26 (TASR) – The demands of teachers on strike for systemic changes in the education sector are justified, because teachers deserve more, both the Slovak National Party (SNS) and OLaNO-NOVA said on Tuesday.

“It’s regrettable that Education Minister Juraj Draxler has taken on such a lax attitude towards the strike, and shows no disposition to address pressing shortcomings in areas falling under the ministry. The education sector is underfunded and short of systemic measures long-term. The current protest of teachers is the last desperate step to move things forward at last,” said leader of the extra-parliamentary SNS Andrej Danko.

He added that issues plaguing the sector concern not only teacher salaries, but also funding for the system, buildings, teaching aids, gymnasiums and playgrounds and playing fields.

Rather than political nominees, experts should decide on issues concerning teachers, he added. “Stopping all sorts of IT companies from living off the sector also needs to be halted,” he added, apparently alluding to a series of high-priced tenders of dubious value that have surfaced in recent years.

OLaNO-NOVA is also convinced that the Government has been turning a blind eye to the appeal of teachers for help. The starting salary of a young teacher equals that of a garbage collector, according to the party. At the same time, it called for systemic changes in the sector such as better equipment and facilities for schools as well as changes in curricula, which the party says can no longer be postponed.

Head of OLaNO-NOVA parliamentary caucus Richard Vasecka, formerly a teacher himself, noted that he’s been drawing attention to the problems plaguing the sector since the beginning of the current Government’s term in 2012. “I even brought the documentation on my salary to Parliament back in May 2012. As a university-educated teacher at a grammar school with 15 years experience, I earned €643 gross including a salary bonus, which equals some €500 net. This is reality. This was the case at the beginning of this Government’s term, and nothing dramatic has changed since then,” said Vasecka.