The Mexican education workers’ union, the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE), and the Secretary of State for Welfare are to set up a special programme to improve conditions for the organisation’s retirees and pensioners.
Agreement was reached between the SNTE General Secretary Alfonso Cepeda Salas and the Welfare Secretary, Ariadna Montiel Reyes, during a meeting at which it was explained that the details of the strategy, which will help improve the quality of life of the union’s 850,000 pensioners, would be set out next week.
They also foresaw a joint committee to implement the programme.
At the meeting, the national teacher’s leader urged the Secretary of State to ensure that when education workers returned to the classroom, they would receive a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine so that they can carry out their work in the classroom without setbacks.
Cepeda Salas and Montiel Reyes also talked about how the extended timetable that is part of the “It’s Our School” programme would work. Ms. Reyes’s department, together with the department for Public Education, is responsible, for managing the budget.
Teacher representative Alfonso Cepeda explained that as the school year begins the SNTE will be working on an intense campaign to identify the students who have dropped out of school as well as the causes that led them to do so. They will try to convince young people and their families to return to the classroom.
In addition, he said, the union is preparing materials to assess learning according to school grade and educational level, which will enable students to remain in the education system and to acquire essential curricular knowledge.
However, he said that “to meet these needs, we need extended hours in all schools”, which implies not only the commitment of teachers, but also specifying the conditions under which they will work, since in addition to payment there are legal issues to be considered.
He gave as an example an accident at work. It is necessary to prove the time at which the accident occurred to the social security body, and this time must correspond with the timetable registered upon the teacher's appointment, so it is necessary for the federal education authority to issue appointments and payments to teaching staff, with auditable checks.
Cepeda Salas also recalled that payments to full-time schoolteachers are still outstanding, dating back to the last four-month period of 2020.
Finally, the SNTE General Secretary reiterated the union's willingness to continue the transformation of the country through public education.