It’s anyone’s guess when thousands of students across the country will be able to return to the classroom, as the indefinite strike by a group of teachers, which began on May 5, has no solution in sight.
What the striking teachers are asking is that the Ministerio de Educación Publica (MEP) pay them their salaries, most of which have not been paid since last month and some since the beginning of the school year (February).
Despite the assurances by the previous administration and of President Luis Guillermo Solís, a teacher by profession, that payment will be made in full in the first half of this month, the teachers have not seen any change.
At the heart of the problem is the MEP installing the Integra2 payment software system that excluded several thousand new teachers from the payroll.
Representatives of the teachers unions met with President Solis last Friday, the day after his inauguration. Despite the assurances by Solis, the unions and the teachers have maintained their position to continue the strikes until a solution, that could possibly affect the “bachillerato” testing scheduled for June 16.
As of yesterday (Tuesday) the teachers confirmed that problems continue with their payment of salaries. Last week, outgoing Education minister, Leonardo Garnier, assured the teachers that they would receive their salaries in full by in the first half of the month.
Gilberth Diaz, president of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Educación Costarricense (SEC) confirmed that despite the assurances, teachers are not getting their paid their salaries.
“We’re finding inconsistencies. We are focusing on finding the inconsistencies, the problems and their dimension, above all, its origin and case”, said Education minister, Sonia Marta Mora.
While minister Mora continues to find the cause of the problem and a solution, President Solis is asking educators to call off the strike and head back to the classroom. “I want to appeal to the sense of responsibility and patriotism of teachers and ask them, in an act of trush and responsibility to the country, to cease actions that prevent our young children from receiving lessons”.
However, the unions say they will maintain the strike action and have stepped up their actions, filing a formal complaint with the Defensoría de los Habitantes (Ombudsman), requesting “to investigate the actions of the current leaders of the ministry of Education, but mainly the former managers…reponsible for the implementation of the Integra2 without backup plans”.
The complaint was signed by Ana Doris González, president of the Asociación de Profesores de la Segunda Enseñanza (APSE), one of the largest teachers unions in the country.
This morning, again teachers will take to the streets of San José.
The original article in Spanish by La Nacion can be found here.