OPINION

Parents should monitor teachers

Are we citizens in a position to break the deadlock between the government and the country’s teachers? Actually, we are. And there is a quite simple solution. We should not forget that apart from being citizens we are registered members of a municipality. And in view of imminent local elections, we should take this fact a lot more seriously. We should be aware that state schools are now, theoretically, under the control of municipal authorities. But, unfortunately, this only really applies to the control of the school buildings. Meanwhile, credit shortfalls and harassment by the bureaucratic demands of central government obstruct efforts to improve school lessons by installing computers or organizing special classes. Of course municipal authorities do not intervene when it comes to the content of school curricula. And perhaps this is as it should be. But schoolchildren’s parents should have the right to intervene, monitor and support the school of their choice and, crucially, select the teachers who are appointed to instruct their offspring. Even today, the majority of teachers have not undergone special training courses. Their performance in the classroom is not subject to any regular evaluation. If parents had the aforementioned capabilities, they would be in a far better position to evaluate the current salary demands of protesting teachers. And the likelihood is that they would not agree to virtually double current wage packets. If, however, they could foster the hope that their children could start foreign language lessons at a standard comparable to those given in private schools, or if they had music and physical education teachers who cared enough to teach their children more than just the basic moves, then maybe those parents would be prepared to dig deeper into their pockets. On one condition, however: that the parents would be able to choose their children’s teachers, albeit from a government list of candidates. This would help keep uninspired, bad-tempered and incompetent teachers away from the classroom. Citizens’ participation in primary education should be their right and duty. Unfortunately, neither politicians nor teachers trust them, preferring to keep the matter between themselves.