Africa-Press – Cape verde. About to start a new academic year, the teaching profession continues to struggle with the same pending issues that they have been demanding for several years. With the promise of the Ministry of Education to resolve them by 2023, unions elect reclassifications and career advancement as “the priorities of priorities”.
The National Union of Teachers (SINDEP), affiliated to the National Union of Unions of Cape Verde (UNTC-CS), and the Teachers’ Union of Santiago Island (SIPROFIS), affiliated to the Cape Verdean Federation of Teachers (FECAP), defend , as top priorities, the requalification and promotion of teachers, whose pending issues have been dragging on, in large numbers, since 2017.
“We still have professors with a salary of 21,000 escudos, who have been waiting six years for their reclassification and who could be earning three times as much during all this time”, indicates the president of SINDEP, Jorge Cardoso.
Some of these teachers, as he told A NAÇÃO, are on the island of São Nicolau, in a “highly discouraging” situation and with a salary that “doesn’t do for anything”.
“Another demotivation is the frozen career, as there is no development. We have teachers who work in single teaching (from the first to the fourth year), who are entitled to a monthly allowance for not reducing their workload, in cash, to which, from 2017 to this part, the Government is in debt. Many are already retired,” he adds.
For this trade unionist, requalification is the “most blatant” case, followed by career development and subsidies.
With regard to career development starting from the degree, he explains, there are assistant professors who, since 2015, when the statute came into force, to 2022, should have made two evolutions, through competitions.
“These are very demotivating issues for the teaching profession, when we see a teacher working for more than 20 years, in the same category”, laments Jorge Cardoso.
At this point, the president of SIPROFIS, Abraão Borges, argues that the promotion should be automatic.
“Our proposal for the Ministry of Education is the automatic promotion for all teachers, especially those from 2015 and who have already retired with nothing”, defended Abraão Borges, for whom, equally, the teachers’ career is “a little discouraging”. ”.
In fact, for SIPROFIS, the greatest difficulty for teachers is in the implementation of the teaching staff career itself.
“At this moment, a set of reductions in teaching time for secondary school teachers came out. In this case it translates into, when a teacher has already worked for 10, 20, 30 years, in each of these stages, his workload is reduced by 10%. From this perspective, the statute has always been put into effect, which we welcome”, he begins by saying.
However, as he says, when it translates into career development, in which teachers have to move from one level to another after four years, through competitions, the competitions have not been foreseen in the budget.
On the other hand, for basic education teachers, the workload reduction allowance translates into a percentage, up to 40%. However, as I said, many teachers, with 32 years of service, delay their retirement waiting to receive the subsidy, which, in turn, blocks the entry of new teachers.
“With that, we have a pile of backlogs, which means that we can’t finish with the backlogs. So what happens? We review the bylaws today and then spend another eight years to review the bylaws again. And when the statute is always revised, but it is never implemented, the losers are the teachers themselves”, he emphasizes.
In the case of the union he represents, warns Abrão Borges, he may be in favor of revising some items of the statute, namely with regard to career development for master and doctoral professors, but not of its full revision.
“There are master teachers and doctors with the same salary as a graduate and this discourages people from studying”, he defends.
In 2023, he warns, all teachers must have promotion, a condition without which the union will not sign “any revision of the teaching career statute”.
New salary grid
Other demands include a new salary grid for the teaching class, the revision of the law to reform teachers, so that, when they retire, they are entitled to promotion, as happens in other classes of public administration and the improvement in the career of the monitors of the preschool.
When the Government promises to resolve all pending issues by 2023, Abraão Borges warns that the deadline is not far away and guarantees that teachers are being prepared for a common struggle. “We retain what the guardianship said and wait. But in 2023 we will start asking for a schedule for resolving pending issues”, he promises.
Start of classes
As for the start of the new academic year, SIPROFIS says it chooses to give the “benefit of the doubt”, but with the perspective that the year starts in the best possible way.
“There is no shortage of teachers, with adequate and sanitized classrooms, and manuals in good time, so that no student or teacher misses the materials needed for healthy teaching”, he says.
With regard to the placement of teachers, he expects speed in the process of replacing teachers who are going to retire, since the competition has already been made.
The speedy placement of teachers is also in SINDEP’s expectations, which says that successive academic years have not started smoothly.
“We have teachers placed on several islands, in the so-called outlying islands, without any knowledge of the island, nor any family member and without any subsidy from the ministry for their integration in that island”, indicates Jorge Cardoso, defending an integration subsidy for displaced professionals .
Another issue pointed out by this unionist is the distribution and preparation of timetables: “There are teachers who are assigned up to four different levels, while others have only one level. We have teachers with mixed schedules, which makes it even more difficult with the grouping system created”.
Dialogue with the minister
In recent days, both unions met with the Minister of Education, Amadeu Cruz, to put their demands on the table and listen to the Government’s proposals for their resolution.
“In the last meeting we had, he reaffirmed the commitment to solve all pending issues by the end of 2023, but we have serious doubts whether this will be possible”, says Jorge Cardoso, president of SINDEP.
This is because, he justified, it seems impossible to resolve all the pending issues of a sentence, with a single budget. “We would have to change latitude to be in another country with better conditions, and not in the real country that we have, which over the years has not solved absolutely nothing”.
However, he suggests, it would be a sign that would bring a “certain comfort” if the Government, still this year, paid the subsidies for not reducing the workload, from 2017 to 2020, made the reclassifications of 2017, 2018 and 2019. “That way we could until I get a little more comfortable than in 2023 it would be possible to close these pending issues”, he defends.
In his meeting with the minister, he said, the official assured that he is under negotiation and only the reclassification of 2017 should be published, leaving 18, 19, 20 and 21. to prioritize reclassifications. Only now have they understood that reclassification is the greatest injustice of the teaching class”, he points out.
In its meeting with the tutelage, in addition to the requirements set out above, SIPROFIS asked for an improvement in the career and bond of higher education teachers, the integration of teachers’ unions in the process of transferring teachers, aiming at greater transparency, and the dissemination of credible information that shows whether the state budget includes the amount for resolving all pending issues by 2023.
SIPROFIS calls for unions to unite in common cause
The president of SIPROFIS, Abraão Borges, calls for the union of teachers’ unions in a single voice, with a view to the common struggle.
“It’s not worth thinking about the role of unions. What often leads to the failure of struggles, even in civil society, is when a union is connoted with a certain party, and society itself tries to devalue the class struggle”, he indicates.
Abraão Borges says he would like to see the three “strong” trade union organizations at Cape Verde level come together in one voice and fight for the common interests of the class. “We are available to join with all our forces and fight for the rights of teachers. With a common struggle, there is no government that is going to play with the careers of teachers”, he underlines.