Peru: Teachers strike against exams

President Garcia sits an exam (photoshopped)

Teachers in Peru launched a one-day strike to protest against legislation currently being debated in Parliament.

(Update 17/7)

The government is proposing to reform the education system by forcing teachers to take regular competency exams. A teacher failing the exam three times could then be fired. Unions have strongly protested, claiming that the new law will allow arbitrary sackings.

In the Jenin department in Central Peru striking teachers surrounded regional education offices and threw stones, they also blockaded roads and burned tires.

Education Minister Jose Antonio Chang called the strike a failure, saying that only 15% of Peru's 350000 techers observed the strike, he also claimed that students in poor areas were disproportionately affected by the action.

Many teachers are not formally qualified or trained. In January the government held national 'evaluations' of teachers. Roughly a third of Peru's teachers participated. Those who passed were given 220 hours of extra training and the new legislation will also give them salary increases. The union has called for training schemes to be opened to all teachers, arguing that giving all teachers extra training is a better way to raise standards.