The Venezuelan Federation of Teachers (FVM) warns that they will continue on the streets until there is a response from the educational authorities regarding the signing of a new collective contract. In addition, they warn of a strong dropout among both teachers and students due to the economic crisis.
Text: Francesca Díaz / Correo del Caroní
The Union Coalition of Educators of the Caroní municipality reported that there are high rates of student and teacher dropout, in view of the return to classes, scheduled for next October 2. In this sense, the unions asserted that the situation is due to the fact that teachers have had to migrate to other jobs while parents do not have the resources to pay for registration, uniforms and school supplies.
“The schools in the Caroní municipality continue to have structural problems. Only 15% received the drop of love and have received medium maintenance. There is a large school dropout rate. We ask representatives to enroll their children because most institutions have super low tuition. Parents are not enrolling their children due to financial problems. They don’t have enough money to buy school supplies or uniforms. They work every day to buy food,” said Carmelis Urbaneja, president of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers Sectional Caroní (FVM).
Urbaneja pointed out that the lack of government support has resulted in schools with a lack of furniture, structural failures and a shortage of teachers. He in turn explained that private schools – which previously remained without available places – are still enrolling students and receiving payments to representatives.
“School enrollment is extremely low to this date. Schools are calling for registration when in previous years there was no space available, this is what is happening in many private schools because parents have not been able to reactivate their registration,” declared Doris Guzmán, president of the Venezuelan Teachers College Caroní Section.
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How much is spent to cover a child’s studies, according to the FVM?
According to FVM calculations, the expenses between registration, uniform and school supplies that representatives must cover exceed $400.
“San Félix is an affected school zone. The parents say that it is not enough for them and that is not a lie. It’s not enough for anyone. It becomes difficult for representatives to buy uniforms for children. A person who earns 130 bolivars cannot assume that expense,” Urbaneja said.
According to the National Association of Private Educational Institutes of the state of Bolívar, tuition fees at private institutions range from 60 to 120 dollars.
For its part, the price of a complete school uniform exceeds $50, not including the regulatory dress for physical education classes. Likewise, parents must assume stationery costs to purchase notebooks, notebooks and school supplies, as well as textbooks.
“The representative needs about $400 to pay for uniforms and supplies for his children. If it is a university level, the price goes up. That is what is needed,” the union member alleged.
*Read also: Teachers urge not to return to classes due to lack of money for the ticket
Signature of collective contract and revocation of Onapre
Under the premise that school peace depends on the Venezuelan State, the educators reiterated that their demands are the signing of a new collective contract, the payment of accumulated debts and the repeal of the Onapre Instructions.
“We demand that a new collective contract be signed, that they cancel the 280% that is owed to us and the elimination of the Onapre Instructions, which was what pulverized the teacher’s salary,” highlighted the president of the FVM.
“We want the signing of the collective contract once and for all. We demand that the Ministry of Education sit at the conversation table and eliminate the figure of Onapre. “That they restore our clauses and salaries,” Guzmán concluded.
During 2022, at least three complaints were filed demanding the repeal of the Onapre Instructions, a tool that lowered the salary tables and labor bonuses of educators. However, all the complaints were not admitted by the Supreme Court of Justice, which alleged that there was not enough evidence to prove the existence of such instructions.
In this sense, the unions warn that, if they do not have a response, they will continue protesting in the streets.
*Read also: 60% of schools are in terrible conditions to start the school year, according to FVM
According to the Trade Union Coalition, only 50% of staff have returned to schools. The same situation had already been reported by the College of Teachers of the Bolívar state.
In this sense, Urbaneja stated that many teachers have emigrated and others prefer to have alternative jobs, given the country’s economic debacle that has been exacerbated by the rise in ticket prices.
“A teacher earns 250 bolivars and needs to spend 400 bolivars a week on fares. He’s practically paying to work. He does not have enough salary to pay the fare.”
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