Contributed by: Don WinnerThis morning public school teachers went on strike as a "measure of caution" because they say the demands they made yesterday were not met by the President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli.
The Ministry of Education basically ignored the strike, and said classes would continue on a normal schedule.
The Deputy Minister of Education Mirna de Crespo defended the self-assessment system being implemented for all public schools in the country, which will be used as a condition to paying a $300 per month wage increase to teachers.
The Deputy Minister said in an interview the assessment was carefully designed to consider the entire learning process, adding that the Ministry of Education would only be responsible for the final review of the results.
"It doesn't make any sense to call a strike" said Crespo.
Panama has about 45,000 public school teachers who are distributed in schools all across the country, and all of them could receive a raise of $300 per month, on the condition that they comply with the requirements of the self-evaluation.
The province of Chiriqui was chosen as a test-bed for a pilot program to implement then self-evaluations, and for the next pay period, the teachers who have been approved will see the pay increases in their paychecks. (Estrella)
Editor's Comment: The fact of the matter is that only a very small minority of the 45,000 teachers in the system actually walked off the job to participate in this strike. The Ministry of Education, and the Minister of Education Lucy Molinar are simply telling the teachers to go along with the program and they will get the raise in their paychecks. The relatively weak union radicals are resisting all change, and they have been bucking Molinar's efforts to reform the system from day one. To her undying credit, Lucy has held fast, stayed the course, and has been consistently pushing to reform and improve Panama's education system over the past five years. The only teachers who don't want to participate in this "self-evaluation" thing are those who probably can't cut it, don't have the proper credentials, and who are unwilling to learn new things, change, and improve to make the system better. And that makes them self serving, and therefore dead weight which needs to be cut loose. Rock on, Lucy...