Currently, the Greek ministry of education is unfolding its plans for the reform of education. In accordance with the harsh austerity policies that are agreed with the Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) thousands of teachers and administrative employees will be fired, while hundreds of schools will shut down. At the same time, the ministry is imposing a new system of evaluation for education at all levels. The principle of the new system is excellence for schools, teachers and students. The text that follows is the reaction of the general assembly of a local primary-school teachers’ union in Athens.
The government demands the commitment of the educational community
We will sign the contract!
…but not with those that demolish public education
We will sign it with the people to preserve education as a public good
We, the teachers of the people that are currently suffering, we commit to a contract with the people for an education that:
– promotes Democracy as a common way of thinking, acting and interacting with each other.
– offers knowledge to children based on the supreme values of solidarity, collectivity and collaboration.
– respects childhood.
– includes all children irrespectively of social origin, financial ability, color, religion or ethnic origin.
– teaches the history of the struggles of our people for freedom, democracy, equality and justice.
They demand from us to serve the principle of ‘excellence’ and to eradicate mediocrity. They demand from us to focus on only a few pupils in every class and to leave the rest to fall into analphabetism and later into precarious employment. All of this is presented with the face of ‘quality upgrade’…
We, the teachers, refuse:
– to watch schools shutting down.
– to be accomplices in the production of a ‘lost generation’. We will not allow our pupils to belong to the class of the losers just because their social origin is not supposed to provide them with access to education and decent living.
– to serve the fake schools of ‘excellence’ in which the ‘non excellent’ will be driven to child labor.
– to watch our colleagues to become unemployed for ever.
We, the teachers, are part of the people. We studied to serve the people and to return our knowledge to them. Now, we will defend in any possible way the right of the children for education. This right has to be continued to be provided to all children irrespectively of social origin, social class, financial ability, color, religion and ethnic origin.
We actively support a school based on the principles of democracy, humanity, solidarity, equality, respect and collective action.
We defend in all possible ways PUBLIC and FREE EDUCATION as the ultimate expression of our social and personal responsibility.
The general assembly of the Union of Athens Primary School teachers ‘Aristotle’