EI’s affiliate in Ecuador, Unión Nacional de Educadores (UNE), has called for nationwide protests to demand the implementation of an educational law approved in 2010 and never applied.
The Ley Orgánica de Educación Intercultural(Organic Law on Intercultural Education) was approved with the blessing of UNE and a majority vote in the National Assembly in 2010. However, the Executive Power used its veto to amend 42 aspects of the law.
One of these amendments was to Article 117 regarding working hours, which were increased to 40 teaching hours a week - the original law referred to 40 pedagogical hours.
UNE has therefore started to collect signatures in a petition supporting the reform of 38 points in the legislation.
According to UNE President, Mariana Pallasco, the Public Service Act is being applied to teachers instead of education legislation recognising the specific rights of teachers, such as holiday periods.
The Organic Law on Intercultural Education also establishes a disputes resolution board that was originally going to be composed of suitable people and which would serve as an impartial tribunal.
The Executive Power stipulated, however, that this board should be composed of three public servants from the Education Ministry, “leaving teachers defenceless, which is why we are asking for a return to what was originally approved: an impartial tribunal”, Pallasco stated.
Another bone of contention is the autonomy of the body set up to evaluate the whole education system ( Instituto Nacional de Evaluación). The text of the existing legislation states that the evaluating body shall be composed of four delegates from the Executive Power. This is contrary to the principle of the institution’s autonomy, according to the union.
“In short, we are calling for the immediate implementation of the legislation, which would be a big step forward for quality public education, providing decent working conditions for teachers and, therefore, decent conditions for students,” said the president of UNE.
The union has called for a protest movement that will begin on 7 March with a big national march.