Teachers Close Schools Across Colombia, Claiming Chronic State Neglect

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Agitated, Colombian teachers took the streets of the major cities demanding from the government for increased public investment for public education.

FECODE, the teacher’s union in Colombia, expressed its dissatisfaction with President Duque’s development plan that endeavors to formulate policies for the coming four years.  According to the union, the program has failed to address the necessities of the state’s public education system.

The teachers advocate for a constitutional amendment that warranties sufficient resources for school food, transportation, raised teacher salaries, materials, and adequate infrastructure.

Due to under-funding, the Colombian education system has continued to suffer for many years adversely.

In 2017, when teachers went on strike, the government under the leadership of President Juan Manuel Santos promised to address all the issues raised. However, it has only implemented the wage bill increase.

Of the 520 contracts set for school maintenance, only 90 were executed by former president Manuel Santos.

The striking teachers also wanted the government to adhere to the teachers’ health contracts. According to FECODE, teachers’ healthcare owes $225 million to doctors and healthcare facilities.

The teachers requested the government to exhibit the utmost political goodwill in the effort to provide solutions to the current challenges in the education system. They feel that any delay in finding solutions will exacerbate the state’s public education.

Salaries increment, multiplication of employees by FECODE and other firms are discussed simultaneously. The increases for 2019 are still talked over.

The goal of teachers is to support the negotiation with the march to ensure a dignified increase.

Additionally, teachers are airing their concern for the current aims of the war offences tribunal and Duque’s general shortcoming to execute a peace deal with the now-demobilized FARC. Teachers’ concerns are linked to security issues as they are usually threatened by an armed group who endeavor to employ underage.

The current teachers’ industrial action in Colombia is the fourth in a year, making such strikes is usual in the country.

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