The reintroduction of an internal competition, aimed at teachers on staff, on an annual basis will be beneficial for teachers and may help to reach an agreement in the ongoing negotiation between unions and the Ministry of Education. This is what public school directors and parents believe, who praise the solution that the Government has introduced in the proposal that will be brought to the negotiating table this Wednesday.
All teacher competitions will once again take place on an annual basis, including the one intended only for the movement of staff teachers (internal competition). This is one of the main innovations in the proposal for a diploma from the Ministry of Education, which PÚBLICO had access to, on the new system for managing and recruiting teachers, sent this Tuesday to the teachers’ unions and which will be under negotiation in the scheduled rounds for this Wednesday and Friday.
This “is not bad news” for schools, understands the president of the National Association of School Directors, Manuel Pereira. “Stability” in the teaching staff of each school “does not mean immobility”. “Teacher rotation has not been bad for schools. We always need new blood and we manage to have it if 10 or 20% of the faculty changes”, adds the same person in charge.
The internal competition allows staff teachers who are located far away to compete for schools closer to their residence. This competition is currently held every four years. This has been the case since the tenure of Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues at the Ministry of Education, which ended the annual periodicity of this procedure in the name of the “stability” of schools.
This measure was always contested by the unions, as they understood that it hindered the approach of teachers to their place of residence, but it was applauded by the schools, namely those located in more isolated or difficult places, for having managed in this way to ensure the presence of the same teachers for longer times. This allowed the development of more educational projects and closer monitoring of students.
Filinto Lima, from the National Association of Directors of Groupings and Public Schools, recognizes that the Government’s retreat in this matter will “generate less stability” for educational establishments. However, it will be beneficial for teachers: “We all want happy and motivated teachers and, therefore, it seems to me a correct proposal.”
The annual contests will create more opportunities for teachers to try their job “closer to home, or in another place they want”, he adds. “Having teachers locked into a four-year school is often counterproductive.”
Filinto Lima believes that the proposals that the Ministry of Education discusses this Wednesday with the teachers’ unions need “to be filed on some edges”, but trusts that there may be “white smoke” in the coming days in relation to the teachers’ competitions, which are under discussion.
However, this will not be enough to reduce the atmosphere of tension in schools, he anticipates. “Teachers are waiting to discuss their real issues – like tenure recovery or performance evaluation – and those are not being negotiated”.
The Confederation of Parents’ Associations also praises the proposal. “It creates a possible bridge between the Government and teachers”, highlights the president of that association, Mariana Carvalho. “Right now”, he continues, what matters most is to end this arm wrestling match and this proposal seems advantageous in that sense”.