Tens of thousands of public school teachers from all over Portugal have marched this Saturday in Lisbon to demand improvements in the educational model and in salaries.
Also against the alteration of the selection processes. This march adds to the continuous rallies, open letters and strikes called in recent weeks that have taken place throughout the country.
The mobilizations are expected to last at least until the end of January and affect thousands of students. This January 20, the Union of All Teachers meets with the Minister of Education.
The protesters, summoned by the Portuguese Union of All Professionals (STOP) in the central Marqués de Pombal square, have called for the resignation of the Minister of Education, João Costa, and for the government of the socialist António Costa to listen to their requests after “close of 20 years of delay” in the application of improvements.
“This is a march open to teachers, students, parents and any member of civil society interested in defending quality Public Schools,” explained Carla Piedade, national leader of STOP, to EFE, who stated that “there is very discontent big” in the country at a time when inflation has reached record levels in 30 years (December closed at 9.6%).
He established 2008 (marked by educational reforms and cuts in public spending) as the year in which the deterioration accelerated and affirmed that since then the governments have applied “a policy of silence, the refusal to negotiate and the imposition of measures”.
“From 2008 until now, what has happened has been successive attacks and this is the moment to say no more. Enough,” he added.
Although there are no fixed figures, the organizers of the act expected the presence of more than 50,000 people.
The participants of the protest have walked the Avenida Liberdade loaded with posters that read “Enough”, “Respect” and “Fighting we are also teaching”, among others, at a time when the Government proposes to alter the recruitment and mobility mechanism of the teachers.
The final point of the march has been the tourist Plaza del Comercio, where they have set up a stage where they have repeated their claims and have chanted slogans such as “The Public School will never be defeated.”
Among them was Claudia Martins, a teacher who arrived by bus from Porto along with a group of more than 300 people: “We are here in Lisbon because Education in Portugal has reached the limit of much bureaucratization,” she told EFE.
Another teacher, Emanuela Costa (arrived from the Setúbal district), believes that “the Government understands” the difficulties of the sector and that “there is a difficult economic situation” that makes it difficult to meet their requests, but they have reached the limit.
“I think we have been a peaceful class but now we have learned to fight and be united. It may be that we can win something,” he said.
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