General strike in education enters the second week: Trade union leaders threaten with postponing national exams

Education minister: If the strike goes on, we will also extend the school year.

Teachers’ general strike has entered the second week, with the Education crisis not seeming to be resolved anytime soon. The negotiations between the unions and the governors did not reach a common ground. The government came several times with the same offer that the teachers refused the first time: bonuses instead of higher salaries.

Amid all these developments, the president of the Federation of Education Unions, Marius Nistor, told Digi 24 on Monday, that the national exams (the Baccalaureate and the high school admission exam) could be postponed. “At the moment we are talking about postponing the exams because we are in this unprecedented protest action and we ask the children and parents to understand us and be with us,” he said.

“It was a pandemic and unlike other states that canceled all exams, in Romania the exams were held. At the moment we are talking about postponing the exams because we are in this unprecedented protest action and we ask the children and parents to understand us and be with us”, said Marius Nistor.

The unions claim that the Government’s proposals are not enough. “I think that the gentlemen from the Government did not realize the extent of the dissatisfaction at the national level in the pre-university education system. I think they didn’t imagine it could get here. They did not think that there could be so much unity and solidarity, that we can be supported by parents and not only that, but it was as if they wanted to see if what is happening at the moment is possible. That’s how the discussions with them started. I do not understand that this socio-professional category has its pride, its dignity, and cannot accept crumbs in the form of vouchers or cards, as long as it noticed that the Romanian state had no qualms about raising salaries in other fields. We don’t have anything with anyone, but people see and can filter the information that comes out and make informed decisions,” he claims.

“I think at the moment the whole country has heard us, taking into account that it is an unprecedented solidarity with the teaching staff, with those who work in the education system. The politicians don’t know what they understood, I doubt they understood anything about what is happening at the moment, because as long as most of the employees in education have entered into a protest action and we are in the sixth day of a general strike and we are preparing for one of the biggest protest marches, to which more than 20 thousand colleagues from Bucharest will come primarily, but also from the country, and they are still talking about the same proposal that was refused last week, is clearly they are in a world of their own, in a world of politicians, in a world that has lost all contact with this world of the many, with their problems and troubles“, adds the president of the Federation of Education Trade Unions.

Asked how the negotiations will proceed, Marius Nistor explains: “It’s not about flexibility here. We are after all talking about something more than salary increases. It is about our social status, of those in education, of dignity and respect. Until now, teachers and those who work in the system have been offended, disregarded and of course ignored most of the time”.

The National Assessment and the Baccalaureate exam could be postponed due to the teachers’ general strike, also said the director of the I. L. Caragiale National College, Andreea Bodea, for Digi FM.

Registration for the 2023 Baccalaureate exam began on Monday, and students have only 3 days to submit their applications. There are very few schools where they can do that, because of the general strike.

The leaders of the unions in Education will have a meeting with the Minister of Labor, Marius Budăi, on Monday, at 2:00 p.m., the discussions focusing on the future salary scale in the system, which will have as a benchmark the salary of the beginner with long-term higher education, the slightly equal to the average gross salary in the economy.

“We will discuss today with Mr. Budai (Minister of Labor, Marius Budai n.r.) about the promotion of an Emergency Ordinance, of a single article in which it is very clear that on the future salary scale the benchmark that is taken into account is the salary of the beginner with higher education long-term, the equivalent of the average gross salary in the economy. And from there we start and draw up any type of salary scale”, Marius Nistor, president of the “Spiru Haret” Federation of Education Unions, said.

He stated that until there is an approved normative act in this regard, there can be no talk of ending the general strike in education, which started on May 22, 2023.

Education minister: If the strike goes on, we will also extend the school year

The Minister of Education, Ligia Deca, declared on Monday that the ministry will not leave any student without a completed situation and without the possibility, if they are in the 8th or 12th grade, to take the exams. “There are solutions if this period is extended, we will also extend the school year. There is no option not to finish the school year, not to end the secondary school, not to hold the national exams,” the minister also said on Antena 1. She also referred to the students who take exams at universities abroad, showing that they will also contact their counterparts from other countries to explain the actual situation.

“There are solutions in case this period is extended, we will also extend the school year. There is no option in which we don’t end the school year in good conditions, don’t end the averages, don’t take the national exams. All will take place even if it means extending the school year. My message to those protesting is to understand that we are making every effort and that the Ministry of Education is with them in demanding their correct salary rights, but at the same time we must think about how we manage to ensure the national exams, the end of the school situation and the right to education for all”, she pointed out. “Registration for the Baccalaureate exam starts today, but we are talking about a registration period, the period is May 29 – June 7. There is time to complete these registrations. If necessary, we will extend it, but for now we have educational units where this registration can be done, where the human resource can be ensured in this sense. For the other educational units, we hope that the protest will be completed as soon as possible and we will remain in the announced period that ends on June 7″, said Ligia Deca.

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  • Panagiotis Spyridis

    The Union will only get what they want after 2 months of strike. The question is if they have the guts to do this !!!!