Primary school and kindergarten teachers’ union POED have announced a 35-minute work stoppage for Wednesday to protest against the work schedule of substitute teachers, which they say is disruptive.
The protest will take place between 11.05am and 11.40am, when the teachers will abstain from lessons but the children will remain in school under supervision.
In a letter sent to parents, POED said that the substitute teacher mechanism was causing causes serious problems.
Last September when the substitute teachers’ appointment terms changed. Up until then, primary school substitutes were paid for a full-time schedule even if they worked fewer hours but the policy was revised, and substitute teachers are now paid only for the hours they teach.
The new regime prevents replacement teachers from fully responding to their duties,w which include more than just teaching in class, POED argued in a letter to the ministry.
The union said the new terms were putting off substitute teachers, who now turn down short-term postings, especially in rural areas, creating understaffing problems in some schools.
“All this, coincides unfortunately with the critical issues of youth delinquency, the non-filling of vacant positions needed for adequate staffing, ambiguity for the staffing of schools next year, all of which make teaching more difficult at the expense of teachers and students,” the letter said.
The union decided to go ahead with the work stoppage because it said, the education ministry, despite repeated warnings, had not responded.
The union is urging parents to support POED and demand that schools be properly staffed.