Published On: Tue, Jun 10th, 2014

“Do they want to keep our people stupid?”

Irene DickWILLEMSTAD - Teachers are upset about the cuts in which the education sector must significantly give in. “What are we doing? Are we trying to keep the people stupid? Don’t we want our people to develop themselves into intellectuals?” These are questions asked by angry teachers this morning to reporters from the Curacao Chronicle.

The government wants to cut down on support for pupils with learning disabilities. This was announced by the Minister of Education, Irene Dick last week during a meeting with the teachers’ union. School boards sounded the alarm and consulted with the Minister. It was in vain, for the decision was already approved by the Council of Ministers.

Another measure is that students in the SBO cannot progress to a higher level. “You cannot introduce austerity measures in education, especially in times when the economy is not doing so well. If you let the system go backwards, you will not help the economy,” the unions said.

“Members of the government are all saying that education is important. When it’s important to show that they mean what they say, then it becomes a whole different show.”

Another teacher wonders who has advised the Minister. The fact that there will also be measures against salaries and pensions is very demoralizing. “We have worked very hard our entire life. We have taught many who have now important positions in the society. Now that some of us are ready to retire, the government wants to cut down on our pensions. This is not right,” one of the teachers, who is about to retire, said.

“A teacher is an educator and social worker. It is actually priceless work, but the Minister, who was also a teacher, apparently does not understand.”

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