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2010-02-23

Algerian teachers vow more strikes

By Mouna Sadek for Magharebia in Algiers – 23/02/10

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Unions representing Algeria's teachers on Sunday (February 21st) rejected a proposed pay increase and called for a general strike, prompting student and parent fears that the school year will be lost entirely.

CNAPEST and UNPEF will begin a prolonged strike on February 24th to protest what they are calling an unsatisfactory offer.

Following the announcement of the government plan, however, secondary school teachers' union SNAPEST decided to postpone its strike action, while the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) delayed its planned protest until March 18th.

Under the Education Ministry's proposed allowance scheme, teachers would receive a 29-32% pay increase as well as retroactive benefits.

Union representatives said that this offer falls short of their expectations, especially when compared to staggering inflation in Algeria as well as the salaries of their Moroccan and Tunisian counterparts.

CNAPEST labelled the ministry's offer a "misrepresentation of the goods".

"These salaries have been deliberately exaggerated", CNAPEST spokesperson Messaoud Boudiba said on February 21st. "The Professional Experience Allowance (IEP), for example, is being presented as a pay rise."

"Our strike will continue until we've received something concrete on our other demands," Boudiba added.

Teachers themselves were divided on the proposed salary increases. Some said the raise would allow them to live decently, while others dismissed the offer as politically motivated and designed to weaken their protests.

Education Minister Benbouker Benbouzid earlier this month called the strike "unjustified" and warned teachers that too many strikes would erode their public support.

"One strike too many…could have incalculable consequences both for teachers and their parents, and for the education community as a whole," he wrote in an open letter to teachers on February 10th.

Parents' associations are concerned that repeated strikes will disrupt their children's education. The National Union of Parent-Teachers' Associations asked the prime minister to step in quickly to resolve the ongoing labour dispute in Algerian schools.

"Nothing has come out of the marathon discussions that have been going on ever since the start of the year, and at this rate we're going to lose the whole year" of teaching, Khaled Ahmed, president of the group, said on February 16th.

One mother told Magharebia that her two sons in primary school "have not been taught" at all this year.

It may be "impossible" to make up lost teaching time this year, university lecturer Adel Abderazak told the daily El Watan on February 14th.

"With all the strikes held in the past and planned for the future, the cumulative effect is that teaching is about two months behind where it should be at this time of the year," he added.

Imane, a student who faces her baccalaureate examination this year, told Magharebia she has no choice but to pay for private lessons, saying: "At this rate, it's clear we're not going to get to the end of the syllabus."

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    زينو ومحسن و حاتم 2011-10-16

    I want these strikes to continue indefinitely and without making any pay rises.

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  2. Anonymous thumb

    hakim 2010-9-18

    By God this is very serious! I missed my bac because of this strike although I am a good student. But every time there is a strike, this disturbs the student. I can’t tell you anything except may God guide you! Oh Lord and make us all pass this year!

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  3. Anonymous thumb

    abder 2010-3-16

    Here is a simple question for the commenters: Is there really a so-called education policy in Algeria?

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  4. Anonymous thumb

    Salim 2010-3-8

    It looks like any salary you give teachers is not enough.How much exactly do they want to get paid? I know a lots of friends who are teachers in middle school. All of them could not pass the BAC so they got into a 2-3 year teacher training programs and became teachers. These are not the creame de la creme but they keep asking for more money just because they are taking our daughters and sons hostages. The matter of the fact is that they don't even do a good job. They escape work any time they can and lots of them are involved in other money making schemes that makes their real job (teaching) secondary. 20 years ago, the teacher did not make enough money to live. Nowadays, they are making enouhg and for some a lot more than they deserve. I know people who are senior engineers with amazing qualifications who make the same amount of money and sometimes even less. Salary is a national issue and it is far from being a teaches' issue only. But only teachers keep whining about it.Again, they only work half a year so if it comes down to it, they are getting paid twice. I would say stop whining and for once take a pride in what you do and do it well. Manage the money you get paid, don't live beyond your your means and things will be good for all of us.

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    Ramram 2010-3-8

    To Ouldrabah Mohamed- If you are a teacher and you make more than 25,000 dinars, then you make many spelling mistakes! Now I understand why our children don't even know how to write their first names. You are a bit like Don Quixote, who tilts against windmills, which is to say, an enemy that does not exist. This is complete decadence in the education sector. Here are your spelling mistakes: “ensseignent” instead of “enseignant”; ensseignment instead of “enseignement”; “ensseignant” instead of “enseignant”; “relugieux” instead of “religieux”; “quant” instead of “quand”; “leur proper enfents” instead of “leurs propres enfants”, which is three mistakes in three words; “ensseignant seul ne peux” instead of “enseignant seul ne peut”, which is two more mistakes in two words; “alor mes frere ensseignants adopter” instead of “alors mes frères enseignants adoptez”, which is four mistakes in four words”; “indients” instead of “indiens”; “defficulter” instead of “difficulté”; “desieme” instead of “deuxième”, “cloire est certeinne” instead of “gloire est certaine”; and “un peux plus de tenp” instead of “un peu plus de temps”!!! There are as many mistakes as there are words, and I did not check everything. For my own part, I would like to kill, not raise your pay. So, the text of the above ‘righter of wrongs’ is completely realistic. Here is his text: ouldrabah mohamed, posted 3 days ago, “I am a teacchar (primmary school) I would like to say that teaching has never been the business of teacchars and neither has politics but rathir a project of all of a societe with its culture and its relugion and its politicsand…and as for these people are a force of wrong against theirs owns children the teacchar alone are not able to mend the wrongs so my brether teacchars to adopt the tactic of the Indiants this is to say to attack and in case…”

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  6. Anonymous thumb

    عالقين في الاضراب;;;LF 2010-3-6

    It is a nightmare which doesn't want to stop or a serial in its first episodes. Kids are lost on streets and girls sitting next to walls, as for teachers they are dreaming every night that they are fighting Ben Bouzid. Honestly, we are poor, suspended between the earth and sky. But the oddest thing is that we thing that strike won't be stopped only after 20 years. So start digging your graves these days because you will soon reach them. We are sure if absence takes longer, girls will go mad, boys will commit suicide and teachers will quit. As for Ben Bouzid, his fate will be either guillotine or execution. We are two students one in the first year of the baccalaureate and the second will sit for the baccalaureate nightmare. So what could be our fate?

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    • Anonymous thumb

      أسماء 2014-2-9

      O God, o God, what is this strike? Don't you know that this influences the fate of pupils? May God guide them! There is no power and no will but from God!

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    azzaddine 2010-3-6

    HELLO EVERY BODY!I AM A TEACHER IN THE SOUTH OF ALGERIA.I WOULD SAY THIS STRIKE IS MORE THAN LEGAL FOR MANY REASONS : FIRST, OUR INCOMES ARE TOO LOW IF COMPARED WITH THE EFFORT WE DO IN CLASSES.SECOND,THERE ARE NO MEDICAL CLINICS FOR US ,UNLIKE THE OTHERS WHOM CONSIDERED IMPORTANT OR MORE IMPORTANT.ALGERIA IS FREED FOR ALL, AND WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE IN ACCOMMODATIONS.HERE IN SAHARA ,WE USED TO CALL A TEACHER -TALB-{A RESPECTIVE NAME} NOW, WE ARE DISTURBED IF SOME ONE CALLS US THAT WORD IN PUBLIC!

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    ouldrabah mohamed 2010-3-5

    I am a primary-school teacher. I would like to say that teaching has never been the business of teachers – and neither has politics. Rather, ours is rather a project of our entire society with its culture, religions, politics and so on. As for these people, they are a force of wrong against their own children. A teacher cannot mend the wrongs, so, my brother teachers, adopt the tactics of the Indians, which is to say attack and, in case of difficulty, regroup to attack a second time. This is a tactic where glory is certain with a bit more time.

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    Anonymous 2010-3-5

    Who do these teachers think they are – pilots taking responsibility for hundreds of passengers, professional surgeons operating on a daily basis and facing all the risks there are, company executives who earn billions for their employer? This would be understandable if these people were technicians or if they had gotten an education at a normal college in their time. We know that since the beginning of time, teachers in Algeria represent the waste and scraps of society. Anyone who cannot find work in the economy’s product sectors turn as a last resort to teaching. This explains the degradations of teaching here. I would understand it if they received a bonus for stupidity. Yes, the stupidity of the teachers of ‘A’, ‘E’, ‘I’ and so on. “Omar goes to schools without a hat” – we repeat that our entire lives. What do scientists who receive moderate pay say? What about the former employees who are now retired and receive 15,000 dinars, which is the same as a cleaning lady or a retired labourer? Everyone is grouped together into the retirees’ minimum wage, which is 75% of the official minimum wage, that is, 12,000 * 75% = 9000 dinars. Thanks to the President’s decision, it has been brought back up to a minimum of 10,000 dinars. Do you know that one simple 1000-dinar increase for all 600,000 teachers will cripple the state’s budget at 600,000,000 dinars monthly! Do the math for the year!!! Thus it is shameful to compare your salary to that of the Europeans, because their performance is 10 times higher and the cost of living is 10 times more expensive. Check out the continuation to this in the following comment. –Signed a father and retired former employee who receives less than 15,000 dinars.

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    احلام 2010-3-2

    I'm a student in the first year of the elementary level at the Medina school. Shame on the ministers of education and teachers, to strike and suspend studies during the period of exams. My friend and I are asking the teachers to resume teaching very soon.

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    سعاد و عفاف 2010-3-2

    Lessons are accumulated without any understanding. In the province of M'ssila, we haven't studied most lessons except after a month or two. As for physics, it's a whole chapter. We began studying three lessons in one course. When we ask the teacher, he says we have to finish the syllabus. We're enduring this miserable situation. So how would things be without studies? We're drowning. We want help. The only victim is the student, as everyone knows. Secondly, in high school, there are no private courses, so what's the solution, in your opinion? Thank you!

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    بثينة 2010-3-2

    You're right, players (who bring fear to people) earn billions, but teachers and educators who bring knowledge to students aren't well paid! Shame on you! God suffices me and He is the best protector!

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  13. Anonymous thumb

    هدى 2010-3-2

    Salam alikum. Concerning the strike, it has taken a major event recently. It has become a problem for us as students. I am a student in the second year of the secondary. I don't find any justification for this strike. If teachers were working with a conscience, this wouldn't have happened. Most of them come and rest in the chair, they don't teach. I don't say all, but most of them. Now they claim their rights - by God, they don't deserve anything. I don't say all of them. We students are the victims. At least they have their jobs, but we haven't benefited at all. Thank you!

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    nassima 2010-2-27

    I am a teacher and a mother. My two daughters are in primary school. We, too, are affected by this strike. I hope with all of my heart that this stops and that they manage to resolve this conflict.

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    carmen 2010-2-24

    I am a secondary schoolteacher. I tell our supreme leader that he will not be able to divide the teachers. We are able to understand his game. Public opinion knows that the cost of living is too high in Algeria. For every cent increase, you see the price double on the other side. Mr Benbouzid, have you the right to post our paystub in the newspapers? Can you post your salary? How much do you earn per month? And your secretary’s salary? Which school are your children in? We are Algerians. We love our homeland. But pay me according to my performance. Go teach a class of 40-45 students and see how much you are paid at the end of the week. You have made our high schools into a daycare for older teenagers. Students born in 1987 are still at the freshman level. You can find a 22-year-old student and a 16-year-old student in the same class. I do not need to draw you a map. Come see what's going on in the high schools. Come see the conditions we work in. Teaching is a noble profession. It means educating, and educating means having a cultivated, civilised people. Culture is a sense of humanity. Excuse me, I wrote this from my heart.

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    ياسمين 2010-2-24

    Salam alikum. This is really shameful for the Ministry of Education! The teacher struggles all his life long in the service of education, for the nation and the sons of the nation. What's going on? Why all this? How could they uncover the income of teachers and the new increase on the front pages of the papers with detail. This is contrary to ethics. But God is our mandate against them. Praise be to God.

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