The Federação Nacional Dos Professores (FENPROF) has organised a demonstration on 26 January in Lisbon, Portugal. The union wishes to challenge new measures imposed by the government.
These include an increase in teaching hours (from 35 to 40), in class time (from 50 to 60 minutes), and in pupil numbers.
FENPROF, affiliated to EI, believes this revision in working conditions is aimed at the dismissal of thousands of teachers, which will be a serious setback for public education.
The measures will entail a reduction of 14,000 in teacher numbers in 2013, salary cuts or the dismissal of about 35,000 teachers over the next two years, as well as a further across-the-board pay cut of 7 per cent.
Breaking the silence
The Cavaco Silva government is also considering increasing higher education fees, introducing fees in secondary education – hitherto compulsory and free – and strengthening private education.
FENPROF General Secretary, Mario Nogueira, describes this as a package of regressive measures put forward by the Government and “handed down by the International Monetary Fund”. These measures, he said, are “an attack on public education and the teaching profession”.
Nogueira also points out that teachers’ salaries are being paid out of European Union funds, and that the government has no control over the continued availability of this financee.
“It is time to break our silence and our meek acceptance. Teachers demand respect. We demand a future for Portugal,” he concluded.
Video of Nogueira talking about the impact of the crisis in education in Portugal (in Portuguese):