Teachers Hold Protests Against New Legislation in Front of Parliament

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Stock photo by TASR

Bratislava, May 9 (TASR) – Teachers and activists from the Slovak Teachers Initiative (ISU) and Slovak Teachers Chamber (SKU) held a public protest in front of the Government Office and Parliament on Thursday, urging lawmakers to kill the Educational and Professional Employees Act also vetoed by President Andrej Kiska, TASR learnt on the same day.

Dozens of protesting teachers maintain that the bill fails to meet the 2016-20 Government Manifesto and is oriented against teachers. “The current chasing after credits was supposed to be replaced by a system of teacher education that should guarantee the improvement in quality of the educational process. Instead of this long-awaited change, however, the bill only ushers in the reduction of the current system, which inspires discontent on the part of teachers, experts and Finance Ministry analysts,” claimed the ISU, adding that the legislation discriminates against some groups of teachers and hamstrings their prospects of career growth.

According to the protesters, the bill also fails to guarantee sufficient protection from bossing, with school principals still untouchable and beyond reproach. “The evaluations of principals and head employees, which was supposed to ensure democracy and reciprocity at workplace, was omitted from the bill. On the contrary, the legislation bolsters the powers of principals, which retards the process of school democratisation and might lead to the emergence of socio-pathological phenomena,” said the ISU.

In response, Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport Martina Lubyova (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) pointed out that the bill was drafted for more than two years. “We even extended deadlines so that everyone could attach comments,” claimed Lubyova. “The legislation brings about quite a large number of improvements and, in general, won’t undermine anyone’s position.”

The minister believes that only a vocal minority has gone onto the streets, with the majority being happy with the state of affairs.