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Teachers to protest against low state funding and poor salaries

About 7,000 to 8,000 teachers and other employees of Slovakia’s education sector plan a protest outside the Government Office in Bratislava on Tuesday, September 13, claiming that a shortage of funding and low salaries are the main shortcomings in the country’s education system, the TASR newswire reported. "We're keeping tabs on the situation; preparations are in full swing; [bus] coaches have been ordered [to bring teachers from throughout the country]," said Jozef Lužák, head of the education trade union. The protest seeks to remind the government of its failure to fulfil its manifesto from 2010, he added.

About 7,000 to 8,000 teachers and other employees of Slovakia’s education sector plan a protest outside the Government Office in Bratislava on Tuesday, September 13, claiming that a shortage of funding and low salaries are the main shortcomings in the country’s education system, the TASR newswire reported.

"We're keeping tabs on the situation; preparations are in full swing; [bus] coaches have been ordered [to bring teachers from throughout the country]," said Jozef Lužák, head of the education trade union. The protest seeks to remind the government of its failure to fulfil its manifesto from 2010, he added.

"In the European Commission's rankings, Slovakia finished 27th out of 27 European countries with its investment in this sector, which amounts to 3.8 percent of GDP," Lužák stated, adding that "our salaries are far under the European-wide average".

The trade unions are asking that the education receive funding at the level of 6 percent of Slovakia's GDP by the end of the current government's term in 2014 and that salaries of teachers be increased so they are 1.2 to 1.6 times Slovakia's average salary. The unionists say their protest is sparked by the fact that teachers’ salaries have been cut. The Sme daily wrote on September 13 that more than 50 schools across Slovakia are closed on Tuesday because of the planned protest.

The trade unions plan to present their views to Prime Minister Iveta Radičová after the rally although no such meeting has been arranged. "We've been meeting Education Minister (Eugen Jurzyca) on a regular basis," said Lužák. "But he lacks the power to decide on upping funding to the education sector."

Source: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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