Contributed by: Don WinnerThe National Teachers Board met on Saturday, August 4, in the city of Santiago, to take action in response to the situations in the education system throughout the country. Professor Yadira Espino told RPC Radio "from this moment a national strike begins," and adding "the only thing that can stop the strike is a serious negotiating table."
"We will not allow our dignity to be trampled," said Espino, who also called on parents to cope with what she calls a "dictatorship in education", because the Minister Lucy Molinar, said the teacher, just wants to impose her will. Yadira Espino said the strike is for the sake of education, to ensure its quality. (Estrella)
Editor's Comment: The conflict and tension between the teachers' union and Minister Lucy Molinar comes to a head with the dismissal of the union leader Andres Rodriguez. Putting about three years of history in a nutshell, Molinar is trying to make some real and serious changes and improvements in the Panamanian national public school system, and the deeply entrenched teachers union is resisting those changes at every step. The old system gave them way too much power and say over how the things were done, and the teachers would always (100% of the time) make decisions that are good for them, and not necessarily the best thing for the students. Molinar takes the opposite approach - that the needs of the kids come first, and the personal wants and desires of the teachers come second. It was only a matter of time before this long simmering conflict came to a head. I still don't think Andres Rodriguez commands enough support to generate a large scale nation wide strike, so therefore I think this is more bark than bite. They can probably shut down a few schools, but not the whole system.