Teacher unions conveyed their recommendations to the government on Monday, aimed at overcoming an ongoing dispute spanning over two months that is threatening the smooth operation of schools.
By Sunday, all three unions of the primary and secondary sectors had rejected the latest government proposal that was handed to them last week.
In the days leading up to the start of the new school year on Monday, the government had made it clear to the unions that if the latest proposal was not endorsed by the leadership, and in view of rapidly approaching start of the new school year, previous cabinet decisions would come into effect.
The head of primary school teachers’ union Poed said they would now wait for the government’s reaction to their own proposals and discuss it during a joint meeting on Wednesday.
Later in the afternoon, government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said the state had no alternative proposal before it that was in line with what had been agreed during the September 6 consultations.
The unions are proposing a so-called credit system, whereby a teacher who teaches more hours than what the curriculum specifies for example, would receive credit for those hours in the next school year.
In this way, there would be no need to bring in a teacher from elsewhere and disrupt schedules.
This according to the unions, would allow for a smooth operation and dialogue to start between the two sides with a set deadline.
“We hope there will be normality because I think it is a very courageous, very right and bold position on behalf of the teachers’ organisations,” Poed head, Fylios Fylaktou, said.
He said he expected from the government to react in kind.
“If we have this normality a substantive dialogue will start according to which public schools must be, and it is our demand, improve in quality,” he added.
Fylaktou said the message the educators were conveying was that they were now urgently demanding that long-standing problems plaguing state schools to be resolved.
Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides tweeted that he will be asking for a legal opinion if the government agreed with the “unacceptable” union position because such an arrangement would potentially be illegal.
Teacher exemptions were not governed by law, he said, and educators were treating them as their property.