PAME statement for the new school year

On the beginning of the new school year

 The beginning of this new school year is very different from the previous ones. This is because the opening of the schools starts without any substantial precaution measures for the protection of children and teachers’ health. It is the responsibility of the Government and the Ministry of Education who did not take advantage of the period gained from the spring until now, with the decisive attitude of the people.

Our children are invited to attend classes of 25 and 27 students in “cage” rooms, with insufficient ventilation dangerous to their health.

Our Schools open with at least 20,000 vacant posts for teachers! At the same time, the government has the audacity to celebrate the recruitments it made this year, which are the half of the teachers who worked last year, without taking into account the 3,500 pensions, the increased needs for teachers due to the pandemic.

The government uses the same audacity to distort the tragic shortcomings in the cleanliness of schools. It presents the 9,500 cleaners for more than 13,000 school units as a success, at a time when due to the pandemic the needs for cleaning are multiple. At the same time, they fire 2,500 cleaners because they do not have a language certificate!

It is not guaranteed that in time, from the first day, all the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (masks, antiseptics, etc.) will be available in all schools.

All of the above create a great concern, not only for the overcrowding of students and teachers and the dangers it poses, but also for the educational rights of our children.

All this time, the Government not only has not accepted the just demands of the Unions, the Federations, the parental movement for the safe opening of the schools, but they use every means in order to convince us that these demands are impossible to ful fill. There are school units that have closed since 2012 until today which can immediately provide with thousands of available classrooms, which the government must use and not offer them to different organizations. The hundreds of municipal buildings that are unused, can be used temporarily for the needs of reducing the number of students per department.

Instead of taking such measures, the Government is focusing all their efforts on securing the profits of big businesses. They generously met the demands of the big hotel owners, shipowners and airline owners, ignoring the health protocols. They are ready to give them the whole package of 70 billion euros, when at the same time there is nothing left for the health and education of the people. They continue on the same path as the previous governments to secure 4 billion euros every year for the NATO fund (i.e. for the imperialist interventions and not for the security and defence of the country) and denies any discussion on increasing spending on education and health.

Now it is the time for the workers together with the teachers and the students to decisively demand the terms and conditions of the opening of the schools. The government must take the state responsibility!

We demand immediately:

1. 15 students per classroom

2. Permanent appointment of those teachers who have worked the last years in education

3. Permanent appointment of at least 15000 cleaners for the needs of cleanliness of the school units

4. Emergency funds for the purchase of adequate Personal Protective Equipment

The Executive Secretariat of PAME, calls on every worker to be at the forefront of demanding the obvious measures by the Government in order to ensure the opening of schools with the greatest possible safety. We will not risk the health and education of our children! Stay strong and have a good school year!