Jump to content

Teachers strike supporting anti-mining protests

Recommended Posts

  • Moderators

In-person classes resume in schools on Tuesday


 Posted 05/11/2023

Public and private schools in Panama will return to normal on Tuesday, November 7 the Ministry of Education (Meduca) announced on Sunday.

The ministry indicated that the measure is due to guarantee the fulfillment and completion of the school year, 29 business days after its end according to the official calendar.

“In addition, it is imperative to comply with the dates on which the final exams of more than 35,000 twelfth grade high school graduates must be administered, starting next November 20,” the statement says.

“The directors of school facilities are instructed to keep them open during their regular hours and to include the attention of young people and adults, to generate the support (including regional and national supervisors) and teamwork, which the educational community requires.  This return appeals to the commitment of each educator, with the objective of guaranteeing the completion of the school year, complying with the differentiated calendars in areas that are difficult to access, and recovering the contents, in accordance with the planning for the third quarter," it highlights.

In-person classes in the country were suspended since last October 23, due to the massive protests that have been registered in rejection of the law that renewed the contract between the Panamanian State and Minera Panamá.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator_03 changed the title to Teachers strike supporting anti-mining protests
  • Moderators

Teachers absence will produce zombies


Posted 20/11/2023

The situation of our students is critical. In this five-year period, the promised stardom of education is one of the worst fallacies of the Government and, on top of that, it has worsened, thanks to the teaching unions, who find nothing better than depriving them of classes while they are the first to say they are present in every strike, stoppage or inactivity in which they can participate while they are paid without working. They are almost the equivalent of two years out of the classroom: first, due to the pandemic; then because of last year's strike, and now because they are against the mining contract. Teachers forget that their absence in the education of our young people will produce zombies, the kind that are easy prey to lies and false promises; of those who will ignore their rights as citizens; of those who will have no future; of them will elect deputies like

the ones that have us in this mess today. There are more than 85 thousand students who run the risk of repeating at least one subject because they do not have the opportunity to make up for the missed classes. This is a crime against the future of the country, because knowing that there are alternatives to fighting, they choose those that allow them to play dominoes on tables that they use to block streets while they get paid. Unheard! – LA PRENSA, Nov. 10.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Teachers must return to work or no pay


 Posted 21/11/2023

The Minister of Education, Maruja Gorday de Villalobos, announced that administrative actions will be taken against

those teachers who have not returned to school classrooms due to being on strike.

Her message  on Tuesday, November 19 to unemployed teachers: 'The payment for the second half of November will be suspended and withheld.'

The teachers maintain their position that the strike ends when the mining company closes.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Striking teachers react to “no pay” moves


Fernando Ábrego - General Secretary of Asoprof

 Posted 22/11/2023

The announcement on, Tuesday, November 21, by Education  Minister Maruja Gorday de Villalobos, that pay would be withheld for striking teachers who did not return to their classrooms inflamed the militant teachers who promised further action in their frontal fight with the government over the mining contract with Minera Panama.

The Association of Teachers of the Republic of Panama (Asoprof) said that on, Wednesday, the fight will intensify and they plan to meet at 12:00 pm on the Albrook bridge, in front of the airport and near where the panapasses are placed, later go at 1:00 pm to the headquarters of the Ministry of Education (Meduca). to protest against the announced measure.

Fernando Ábrego, general secretary of Asoprof, indicated that “the strike continues and is intensifying further due to the threats from the Minister of Education.”

He asked the educational community not to fall into “intimidation” by Meduca. Furthermore, he said that they are going to use all Panamanian legislation to defend the fight since it is legitimate.

 Humberto Montero, spokesperson for the Veragüenses Teachers Association, said that the statements of the Minister of Education have inflamed the teaching leadership, so they will remain in the streets.

In addition, he recalled that the indefinite strike was declared on October 30, after carrying out two 48-hour strikes that could be extended.

Montero recalled that Article 9 of the National Constitution protects teachers in their strike actions. “We are not going to return until the mining contract is repealed,” he said.

The teachers are requesting the repeal of Law 406 of October 20, 2023, regarding the mining contract.

Yesterday afternoon, the Attorney General of the Administration, Rigoberto González, explained to the educational leaders that in his opinion the mining contract is unconstitutional. Furthermore, it cannot be repealed through the Assembly, but by a ruling of unconstitutionality by the Supreme Court of Justice.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Teachers remain on strike despite court ruling

Posted 28/11/2023

Teachers remain on strike despite court rulingTeachers’ union leaders reported that they are still on strike since they still do not have an agreement with the Education Ministry.

Following the ruling of the Supreme Court that Law 406 which approved the mining contract, is unconstitutional, the union leaders indicated that they must meet with the bases to later establish a dialogue table with the Ministry of Education (Meduca) to be able to reach an agreement to end the strike.

Among the points that must be addressed with Meduca is the payment for the second half of November, which was withheld from 17,495 teachers, as well as the end date of the school year.

The spokesperson for the Veraguense Teachers Association, Humberto Montero, indicated that the representatives of the more than 20 teaching organizations must evaluate and take stock of the situation to meet with the Meduca authorities.

“Right now we are celebrating the victory because you know that this ruling is final and unappealable,” he said.

The teachers have been on strike since October 23 in rejection of the State contract with the Canadian mining giant First Quantum Minerals.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

School classes could restart  on December 4 as the pay stoppage revoked


Posted 30/11/2023

The Minister of Education, Maruja Gorday de Villalobos, reported on Thursday, November 30, that classes in schools, that were affected by the teachers' strike, could resume Monday, December 4.

The Minister announced that starting at 8:00 am Thursday the salaries of some 17,000 educators who were retained for not teaching classes will begin to be released, as part of the actions to begin a dialogue with the teaching unions to end the strike.

“It would be Monday, December 4,” stated the head of Meduca as the date to return to classes.

“The idea is that today we can, sit down [with the teachers] and define the issues of recovery and the days to pay, linked to the days that the teachers were unemployed,” said Gorday de Villalobos on TVN.

The Minister recalled that one of the sectors most affected by the stoppages was education and that it is not about who wins and who loses. “If we have to give in and we have to sit down, through an agreement to terminate the strike, we are willing to do so,” she pointed out.

One of the conditions that the leaders had expressed to sit down and talk with the educational authorities was that the withheld salary of some 17,000 teachers, corresponding to the second half of November, be paid. And then, later finalize the strike settlement to return to the classrooms.

Gorday de Villalobos said that once the procedures were completed to reactivate the payments, the invitation was sent to the leaders of the unions to meet Thursday at noon in the offices of  the Ministry “The idea is for us to do the run and be able to recover and restart classes on Monday, December 4.”

One of the points to be discussed would be the recovery of classes and although there are several options, Gorday de Villalobos said that the school calendar would not extend until the end of January or the beginning of February.

A sector of teachers has already stated that they are not willing to pay time by time because the school calendar is extended until January 15, 2024, since the school year ends on December 29 with graduations.

The teachers went on strike on October 23  to reject the State contract with the Canadian company First Quantum which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Teachers' strike ends  with no extension to school year

Posted 02/12/2023

Teacher unions and representatives of the Ministry of Education (Meduca) reached an agreement to end the strike at  3 a.m.Saturday, December 2 after 17 hours of talks.

The educators who have been on strike since October 23 as a protest against the law that endorsed the contract between Minera Panamá and the State, will return to the classrooms starting t Monday, December 4.

There will be no extension of the school year until January 2024 in official schools, as Meduca had initially proposed.

According to the agreement signed by the representatives of the teaching unions and Minister Maruja Gorday de Villalobos, around 3:00 am this Saturday, the school year will end on December 29.

Until that date, the recovery of academic content is “prioritized” using “various pedagogical strategies, favoring the leveling and recovery processes.”

During the negotiations, Meduca had presented a proposal to extend the school year until January 12. This proposal included classes on Saturdays.

But the educators rejected it outright. “The leadership does not agree with that... we already defeated the mining contract and now we have to defeat those who want to impose things that go against the educators who won the liberation of the homeland and sovereignty,” he said during the meeting. Armando Espinosa, leader of the Association of Authentic Independent Teachers (Amia).

“We are not going to extend the calendar until the 12th and much less are we going to sacrifice students on Saturdays, that is impossible, colleagues,” he assured.

Meanwhile, the agreement establishes that educational centers with graduating students (9th and 12th) will make the pertinent adjustments in coordination with the Regional Directorates and the educational communities.

Meduca committed to “not take economic, administrative and disciplinary reprisals” against the educators who were on strike.

They also agreed that teachers, Meduca, and the Ombudsman's Office will request the Ministry of Government to establish a commission in order to "ventilate and follow up on cases related to the administrative justice of teachers during this period."

Likewise, Meduca will create a commission with the teaching unions to present a proposal “for the postmortem recognition of the murdered teachers and make possible the support required by their loved ones.”

According to the Minister, the students return to the classrooms on December 4. “That's the most important thing.”

Agreement questioned
One of those who questioned the agreement was independent deputy Juan Diego Vasquez.

He said he did not agree with the non-recovery of classes. “This government between the pandemic and the demonstrations of 2022 and 2023 has been the one with the greatest loss for education,” he said.

He called on the teaching unions and Meduca to find another solution. “We must do what is necessary for the benefit of the children,” he added.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Students and teachers return to classrooms


Posted 05/12/2023

Scores of thousands of Panamanian public education students returned to the classrooms on  Monday, December 4 after the teachers' unions reached an agreement with the Ministry of Education to end more than a month of the strike, which affected some 800,000 students, to put pressure against the contract between the State and Minera Panamá.

“We recognize the social balance that the teaching unions represent, even in different struggles and achievements throughout history," said the academic vice minister of Education, Ariel Rodríguez, to the TVN network.

He added, "However, we are finishing a school year and for us the call to return to classes and return students to classes was fundamental."

Last Saturday, the teachers and the education ministry reached an agreement that puts an end to the strike that began on October 23. The teachers committed to returning to educational centers from Monday until December 29, when the school year ends. Those who work in areas with difficult access will do so gradually, according to the official statement. The agreement also contemplates "the full return of salaries withheld from educators", a measure taken by the authorities as a way of putting pressure on them to return to the classrooms, and the teaching unions will be included "as observers in the orderly closure process of the mine", according to the Ministry of Education.

"I'm happy, I missed them (the students), but I was fighting for a just and necessary cause, which was to get the mining company out of Panama (...). I was fighting for them in the street so that tomorrow they can enjoy nature," teacher Miriam de Vázquez told EFE this Monday from a school in the populous neighborhood of San Miguelito, on the outskirts of the Panamanian capital.

Among the priorities of the Panamanian authorities and teachers are recovering the educational content lost due to the strike as well as allowing students to move on to the next course.

The 2023 school calendar for official and private schools is from March 6 to December 22, 2023. However, due to protests, it was interrupted in public schools while private schools continued teaching, relying some days on the virtual modality.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...