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Why are Polish teachers on strike? Posted by on Apr 9, 2019 in Current News, Education, Kids

Teachers (nauczyciele) in Poland went on an indefinite nationwide strike over pay Monday after the government failed to meet union demands during days of negotiations.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

The strike (strajk) by teachers of kindergarten all the way up through the final year of high school is the first such widespread work stoppage in Poland’s classrooms since a two-week strike in 1993, when graduation exams had to be canceled at many schools.

The indefinite strike started Monday after pay negotiations (negocjacje płacowe) with the government failed. Protesting teachers (protestujący nauczyciele) said that their action was dramatic, many among them have to juggle two or three jobs at different schools to make ends meet. A teacher’s monthly net earnings range from 1,800 zlotys to 3,000 zlotys ($470 to $780). Teachers want an immediate 30% pay increase and to back their demand, they argued that the government recently found substantial new funds for families, pensioners and businesses, in an attempt to win support ahead of May’s elections to the European Parliament.

Image by succo from Pixabay

Warsaw officials said about 80% of the city’s schools were closed Monday. Preliminary figures from other regions showed that up to 90% of schools were affected in some areas. The Polish Education Ministry (Polskie Ministerstwo Edukacji) said 48.5% of schools nationwide were on strike at noon.

The latest strike also comes at a crucial time for students (uczniowie): days before end-of-year tests in primary and middle schools and weeks ahead of this year’s high school matriculation exams. President Andrzej Duda, whose wife taught high school German before she became Poland’s first lady, expressed solidarity with the striking teachers, saying they should be properly compensated for their hard work. But Duda also appealed to them to be realistic with their demands and to allow the scheduled exams to be given.

Reactions among parents ranged from supportive and understanding to disappointment, especially since the strike comes so close to crucial tests.

So who is right? Should the teachers be paid more? I definitely agree they should.

Teachers play important role in our life to become successful in career and business. A good teacher helps us to become good human being in the society and good citizen of the country. Teachers know that students are the future of any nation. So the future development of any nation is in the hands of teachers. What we become in life is depends on teachers. Teachers impart the data and information in the brain of students to analyze. Analyzing in the situation what is possible is the most important thing that we learn from teachers. Of course parents and guardians play important role as well in educating kids. What you learn from them, can not be replaced by teachers. But teachers definitely deserve more appreciation in Poland.

Definitely would like to hear what your opinion is. I agree that everyone has a aright to their own opinion and no judgement because of that.

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


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