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EDUCATION

France to put €1 billion into improving teachers’ pay

The Education Ministry announced on Tuesday that it would be injected €1 billion into teaching over the next three years.

France to put €1 billion into improving teachers' pay
Photo: AFP
The cash injection will come in stages, beginning with €500 million in January next year that will go towards improving teacher conditions and increasing their salaries.
 
The other €500 million will come at the start of 2019.
 
Graduate teachers can look forward to an extra €120 a month, while those with more than eight years experience can expect an additional €900 per month.  
 
France's Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said that the goal was to “upgrade the entire career to give teachers better pay and to make the profession more attractive”.
 
Under the new changes, a teacher in France will pocket an extra €23,000 by the end of their career, Le Monde newspaper reported.
 
The government also said that they would clear up some vagaries in the scale of teaching seniority, introducing a new “senior” rank for the most experienced teachers in France, who will be paid accordingly. 
 
The minister of education said that the goal was to “bring France above the OECD average when it came to teacher salaries”.
 
The announcement comes as France's presidential election looms with many suggesting Hollande was getting cheque book out just in time to win over voters.
 
Teachers were among the main support base for President François Hollande when he was elected to power in 2012. However since then relations have turned frosty. 
 
Primary teachers staged strikes for changes to to the school week while those in middle schools (colleges) rose up against the government's reform of the curriculum.
 
Hollande is hoping to win them all back over to boost his chances of being re-elected in 2017. The president, who has said he will wait until the end of the year before announcing if he will run, needs all the support he can get.
 
The first cash injection for teachers scheduled for January 1st, just four months before the election.
 
 

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EDUCATION

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules

Around three-quarters of French teachers plan to go on strike onThursday to protest the government's shifting rules on Covid testing for students, forcing the closure of half the country's primary schools, a union said Tuesday.

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The strike led by the Snuipp-FSU union, the largest among primary school teachers, comes after the latest of several changes on testing and isolation requirements for potential Covid cases announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex late Monday.

After seeing long lines of parents outside pharmacies and labs in recent days to test children in classes where a case was detected, Castex said home tests could now be used to determine if a student could return to school.

But teachers say class disruptions have become unmanageable with the spread of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant.

“Students cannot learn properly because attendance varies wildly, and a hybrid of in-house and distance learning is impossible to put in place,” the Snuipp-FSU said, adding that absent teachers are not being replaced.

It is also demanding the government provide facemasks for staff, including the more protective FFP2 masks, and CO2 monitors to check if classrooms are sufficiently ventilated.

“Not only does the current protocol not protect students, staff or their families, it has completely disorganised schools,” the union said, claiming that classes have effectively been turned into “daycare centres.”

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has said the government is doing everything possible to avoid outright school closures that could cause havoc for parents and jeopardise learning for thousands, especially those in low-income families.

“I know there is a lot of fatigue, of anxiety… but you don’t go on strike against a virus,” Blanquer told BFM television on Tuesday.

As of Monday some 10,000 classes had been shut nationwide because of Covid cases, representing around two percent of all primary school classes, Blanquer said.

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