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Education Minister wants to review teacher working hours
Luxembourg

Education Minister wants to review teacher working hours

2 min. 26.03.2014 From our online archive
Luxembourg's Education Minister Claude Meisch wants to review teacher working hours and the distribution of resources, after the government agreed to a change in payment structure, leading to an increase in wages for civil servants.

(CS) Luxembourg's Education Minister Claude Meisch wants to review teacher working hours and the distribution of resources, after the government agreed to a change in payment structure, leading to an increase in wages for civil servants.

The agreement between public sector confederation CGFP and the government was struck was last week. While it saw the introduction of a more rigorous system of appraisal screening it also included changes to salaries, with a part of training recognised in the calculation of wage grades.

The government expects that this regulation will add around 5 million euros to its public sector salary bill.

In the education sector, minister Claude Meisch has now suggested that teachers should do their bit in return for the wage increase, for example through an increase in working hours or a reduction in age-related free hours.

The CGFP has spoken out against Meisch's suggestions, saying that it is not ready to retroactively negotiate conditions.

Teacher cooperation needed for reform

For Meisch, the suggestion to change working hours comes as part of a wider analysis of the distribution of resources in the education sector. While there is a shortage in some areas, he said that elsewhere jobs were created that were not “directly in the interest of the children.”

While the former government set the goal to hire less teachers, number have increased by a quarter since 2009, Meisch said, speaking to the “Luxemburger Wort”. An analysis is now meant to offer a better insight into the situation.

In the end, however, nothing is possible without the teachers, Meisch conceded, saying that their cooperation is needed for any kind of school reform. While the minister is ready for dialogue with unions and teachers, he also said: “I can be very stubborn in regards to the goals, but I can be very flexible about the way to get there.”

Getting parents involved

Despite the apparent focus on schools and teachers, Meisch also wants to get parents more involved in the education of their children. “Education without the parents is not possible,” the father said, who also stands by the government's plans to introduce free day-care, once the state's financial situation allows it.

After teaching professionals had warned that day-care cannot substitute parents, Meisch explained that day-care offers many children, especially from socially disadvantaged families, the chance to gain social competencies by interacting with others, as well as stimulation and support during development.

“This does not release parents from their educational responsibility,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, the problem of languages in state schools is far from solved. Meisch said that the idea behind pre-school to encourage the use of Luxembourgish had evidently not worked. However, he does not want to jump the gun on introducing a new branch of primary school education in French.

“I don't want any experiments,” he said, adding that experts from the University of Luxembourg had been brought in to organise workshops around the issue of multilingualism. “Should we come to the conclusion that we need to change alphabetisation, then we will do it,” Meisch concluded. “But if we come to the conclusion, that we can achieve improvements within the current system then that's okay too.”