A day after it emerged that the government intends to postpone the launch of a contentious system to evaluate the performance of school teachers, the Ministry of Education appeared to engage in damage control, saying in a statement on Friday that “the introduction of evaluations at schools is being implemented on the basis of the original plan.”
A ministry statement said that the evaluation of primary and secondary school teachers was designed to take place after a first phase of teacher training and school unit assessments.
“The goal has always been to build trust in the new system – and it remains so,” it said, adding that the timeframe had been specified as early as November 2018, when New Democracy unveiled its manifesto.
The Primary Teachers’ Federation (DOE) and the Federation of State Secondary School Teachers (OLME), which have vehemently opposed any evaluation-driven reform, welcomed the news that the provision regarding performance evaluations will not be included in the education bill which is expected to be tabled in Parliament this month.
Turning to the issue of teacher training programs, OLME said that training must be “comprehensive and not a result of assessment.” It added that it had received an assurance from Education Minister Niki Kerameus that the ministry was looking for the necessary funds to make it “systematic and comprehensive.”
The government’s decision on Thursday to put off performance evaluations was seen as a signal to unionists that the conservative administration is reluctant to shoulder the political cost of introducing a system which is also a no-no for the New Democracy-affiliated DAKE teachers’ union.
Putting in place a system of performance review across the country’s primary and secondary schools had been a key pledge of the conservative party before last year’s elections in its campaign to restore the ideas of “achievement and excellence” allegedly undone by the leftist SYRIZA administration.