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Relay strikes by teachers continue

SEVERAL teachers have announced that they will not give students their half-year certificates. By doing so they want to persuade the government to devote more money to education and to increase the salaries of teachers and school staff, the Sme daily wrote on December 12.

SEVERAL teachers have announced that they will not give students their half-year certificates. By doing so they want to persuade the government to devote more money to education and to increase the salaries of teachers and school staff, the Sme daily wrote on December 12.

Such a decision would mostly affect pupils from the ninth class and school graduates who need the certificates in order to apply for further education.

Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič warned that if teachers do not give the students the certificates, they will be in violation of the Education Act, Sme reported.

Meanwhile, hundreds of teachers across the country participated in protest gatherings in Prešov, Banská Bystrica and Žilina on December 11.

“It is a pity the trade unions decided to halt the [nationwide] strike,” Marián Joščák, from the elementary school in Drienovo, Banská Bystrica Region, told Sme, adding that union representatives should be tougher in negotiations.

Though the strike has been stopped for now, Joščák said he expected the protests to have an effect since the situation remains critical.

The attendees of the meeting in Prešov called on Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič to prepare an analysis of the education sector, which would include recommendations to solve the current situation by January 8, 2013. If not, teachers will resume their strike, Sme reported.

The meeting was also attended by Pavel Ondek, head of the school trade unions, who stressed that it was not just one person, but the whole strike committee, that had halted the nationwide strike, Sme wrote.

Meanwhile, the relay strike continues at schools around the country. On December 12, the Art School of Julius Kowalski and the Gymnasium of Mikuláš Kováč in Banská Bystrica participated. Teachers from the art school erected a Christmas tree in front of the Government Office in Bratislava with empty plastic boxes hanging on it, and a banner reading: ‘The Government’s Christmas Presents for Schooling’.

Teachers say they expect their unions to insist on their original demands and put appropriate pressure on the government to accept them, Sme wrote.

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