Education International
Education International

Argentina: Teachers challenge privatisation

published 14 November 2011 updated 18 November 2011

Teachers in Buenos Aires, Argentina, have announced plans to strike from 16-17 November against a bill that will establish a computerised rating system to decide teachers’ employment and promotion.

The announcement for the 48-hour action comes after negotiations between the teacher unions and government failed to achieve a compromise. Education unions have warned that educators will rally until the end of the week to urge lawmakers to withdraw the bill which replaces teacher qualifications and disciplinary boards with an official classification office. Under the planned legislation, local governmental officials would be in charge of teachers’ assessment, while teachers and school representatives’ prerogatives would be limited. Buenos Aires legislators have already started treating the controversial bill within the Education Commission.

The Union of Education Workers (UEW) Secretary General, Carlos Oroz, declared: “Education boards are important, as they guarantee democratic procedures. They now are at risk because this bill involves educators being appointed depending on their political and ideological ties with the ruling government.”

Since 2007, Buenos Aires has been run by a Conservative mayor, Mauricio Macri, who has implemented massive cuts in the education budget. Both education unions and students have opposed these cuts.

Union leaders believe the Macri administration is seeking “undemocratic” objectives that will lead to the privatisation of education in Buenos Aires.

EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen added: “EI supports our Argentinean colleagues in their fight against privatisation of education and the unclear and undemocratic assessment and career advancement methods that are being proposed.”

He went on to quote the Resolution for the Latin America Region: Assessment Processes and quality Education for All, which was adopted at EI’s sixth World Congress in Cape Town: “Institutional assessment at schools level must be permanent, collective and formative, not punitive. It is necessary to evaluate pedagogical, didactic and institutional practices; then mechanisms must be included for the participation of families and students in the assessment of institutional practices.”

To read the EI resolution in full, please click here