Teachers deserve comprehensive support, not populist government play with education

Center for Civic Education (CCE), on the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, reminds that the education system is tested daily by numerous challenges and requirements, followed by the bad material position of teachers.

Teachers are key drivers in the education system, and with their students should be carriers of progressive forces. However, to have this in reality it is necessary to have a different understanding of education role by decision-makers and different implementation of educational policies that will not underestimate teachers. Namely, the basic knowledge, habits and skills of the children are based on the work in those drafting curriculums and conducting the teaching process. Education workers spent most of their time with children, and the constant presence of teachers is not the only expression of change that brought the COVID19 pandemic, but the modern age. Even though the coronavirus pandemic significantly eroded already a long time ago weakened quality of education, the Government does not undertake appropriate measures to strengthen the unenviable position of the educational cadre and facing with the current situation they have with students. Teachers in Montenegro work in bad conditions, starting with the outdated school infrastructure, didactic materials, tools, and equipment which are at their disposal, over the possibilities for capacity building, and further burden with inadmissible low reimbursements.

All this has side effects on the enthusiasm of teachers in conducting their role as the main motivators at school, quality transmitters of knowledge, and pedagogues in recognition of the need and interests of all students. Form and administration start to prevail, while the essence of education and upbringing are absent. Consequently, children are going to school because it is mandatory, but at school learn less and less, while many teachers are going to work aware that they have to pay bills at the end of the month, without the enthusiasm that work should have bear, and parents are partially satisfied believing that their child is in the safe place.

This year teachers are facing with one more challenge of establishing a good relationship between Montenegrins with Ukrainian and Russian children who are migrants from war areas. Hence, teachers need additional support and guidelines for working with foreigners, to face with that challenge too, in an attempt to stay up to the level of required pedagogical tasks and to keep up to the goal of mainstreaming understanding, tolerance and protection of all forms of discrimination of children in education in the process.

CCE believes that there is enough creativity and motivation within in teaching cadre, but that they also must get support for their work to contribute to the success of students in the education process. Therefore, we call on the Government to address problems in education in a more systematic and dedicated manner, without populism and improvisation. The CCE calls the educational community to more actively participates in public policies and the design of developmental projects for an institution in which they work. It is necessary to establish practice and allow institutions to also have their own revenues that would contribute to the development of institutions, as well as enable bonuses on the earnings of employees in these institutions. That could be one of the manners of improvements of conditions of work in educational institutions, but also positions of teachers.

World Teacher’s Day was proclaimed by UNESCO in 1994 to mark memory of the signing of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers on 5 October 1966.

Snežana Kaluđerović, Senior Legal Advisor