Hugo Yasky, General Secretary of Argentinean affiliate CTERA, was elected President of the Regional Committee of Education International for Latin America on March 4th, at the EI Latin America regional Conference.
Sidney Justiana, from SITEK/Curaçao and Fátima da Silva, from CNTE/Brazil, were elected as vice-presidents at the conference in Buenos Aires
Speaking about the current situation of education in Argentina, Yasky declared that over the past three years CTERA has built alliances with different sectors of civil society with a view to promoting drastic changes in the legal framework of education in the country.
This initiative was endorsed by Argentinean president Nestor Kirchner and, within his first three years of government, laws on Vocational Education, Sexual Education, Financing of Education and a new National Education law were approved, ensuring public education remains a priority of the State and a social right.
According to Yasky, for the first time in history Argentina teachers all over the country now have a common starting salary. Previously, provincial government were able to pay teachers from poorer provinces lower salaries.
Yasky believes that the “carpa blanca” of 1997 - the white tent demonstration which, for 1003 days, had teachers camped in front of the nation’s congress building – was the starting point that lead to the current changes in the Argentinean public education system that have enabled teachers to regain their status as social actors in the struggle to promote access to knowledge where it is most needed.
The government has now agreed to gradually increase the percentage of GNP allocated for education, reaching 6% of GNP by 2010.