Teacher strike in Peru has been going for months. Better salaries, better working conditions and training; that is what they have been asking for, while their students have been left without proper education for more than 50 days.
The strike has reached its peak with thousands of teachers (about 10,000) marching on Lima and even fighting violently against police forces. They are demanding the Minister of Education and the President more funds for the Education sector as long as the revisions of the evaluation system that should be put in place shortly.
The salary raise is at the centre of the strike with teachers demanding to be paid at least 2,000 soles, the equivalent of about US$ 600, which was indeed an electoral promise by the actual president PPK.
Now, another issue, which, I believe, goes beyond money is the question of teachers training and the evaluation of teachers. Teachers are now to be evaluated through formal observation in their classroom. So far, so good. If teachers provide a service, this service has to be evaluated. What worries me deeply as a teacher trainer is the process and the way this evaluation can be used as a tool to dismiss teachers and consequently devaluate some schools. Here are my questions and doubts:
- Who will be in charge of the evaluation? How will have the person in charge been trained to do deliver such observations?
- If a teacher fails to pass the evaluation, that means somehow that he/she has not received proper training beforehand. Why is that?
- Will the evaluation be the same everywhere or adapted to the learning context? With some classes with 40 students, how can a teacher possibly ensure that each and every student reaches his/her true potential? How can a teacher maintain adequate behaviour management with the huge classes they often are confronted to? Can you reasonably assess teachers in rural areas and those in urban areas the same way?
These are just thoughts I am jotting down, but having seen the chaos poorly organized evaluations can create, I must admit that would highly recommend the Minister of Education of Peru to rethink its plan on the long run and actually train teachers before these observations take place.
Peru has been through Education crisis for years: Just as a reminder education in Peru is only ranking 64/70 for PISA results this year. However, it is not debatable that Peru wants to move forward: The University laws have come up recently and they are pushing teachers to get Master’s degrees by 2019 to be able to teach at University level. It has also been mentioned that 18% of the budget would be allocated to Education in 2018. That’s all good but still the budget of education represents less that 6% of Peru PBI and I am wondering how the salary increase for all teachers and the new reforms can fit in that budget.
So, again even if there is definitely an urge to deeply modify the Education System in Peru I believe they should take time to carefully think these reforms, to make sure that they actually improve education through valid teacher training and peer observations and that they are not just ticking boxes and putting a band-aid on a crisis.
And YOU what do you think about teacher strike in Peru…