In Special Education the most shortages – “Scream” of anguish from teachers and parents for dozens of gaps and in Chania – 127 children helpless
Over 270 teacher vacancies exist at the primary and secondary level in Heraklion prefecture, with the problem being more pronounced in the province. The problem takes on greater dimensions if one considers that, despite the hiring of substitutes, there have also been many departures, as the 750 euros that the substitutes receive as a monthly income is not enough to cover their needs.
In particular, concern has prevailed in recent days among teachers about the departure of substitutes. For several years now substitute teachers have been coming in to fill the vacancies that existed in the schools. Of course, their role was and continues to be fundamental. However, due to their financial situation, many are forced to leave for financial reasons.
This situation is also visible in Heraklion, as, according to the president of ELME Heraklion Zacharias Rigakis, 20-30 substitute teachers have left.
“20-30 substitute teachers have left since the beginning of the school year. They have canceled their work and prefer not to work. The reason is related to the low monthly income they receive. When a teacher receives 750 euros and is forced to move to villages like Viannos, Charakas and Tympaki, it is understandable that he cannot cope. Economic times are tough and we have to hang in there. That’s why teachers are also leaving,” said Mr. Rigakis.
The president of the ELME of Heraklion pointed out that the gaps in secondary education are 100-150, with the biggest problem being located in the province and in main teacher specialties such as philologists, mathematicians and physicists.
“It is estimated that there are 100-150 vacancies in secondary education. The countryside presents a large number of gaps, while there are shortages in teacher specialties such as mathematicians, physicists, biologists, chemists and philologists. Also, there is a big problem in Special Education. Special Education for specific categories of children is decreasing. There are shortages of teachers and parallel support. The government has not given the required impetus and it is in danger of disappearing from the schools of Heraklion”.
Among other things, Mr. Rigakis stated that “a big problem is the financial impoverishment of teachers. The educational policy as implemented has no social sign and unfortunately I do not know where we will be led this school year. We as teachers are ready to face any difficulties that may arise. The Ministry of Education, however, must take the necessary measures so that teachers can do their work properly. But the education policy as it is implemented today is laughable.”
170 vacancies in the primary
One hundred and seventy are the gaps in primary education in Heraklion, according to the estimates of the president of the Association of Primary Education Teachers “Dominikos Theotokopoulos” Giorgos Makrakis. According to Mr. Makrakis, the problem is focused on specific categories of departments, such as integration, reception, etc. “The problem is focused on the integration and reception departments. But also in parallel support for specific categories of teachers. There are vacancies in the positions of dramatists, visual artists and Physical Education teachers. We have been informed that the gaps will be filled by the end of the month. In the event that this statement is implemented, then school reality will run smoothly,” said Mr. Makrakis, while he continued: “Emphasis must be placed on meeting the needs of Special Education. We are talking about children with special needs who need individualized intervention. We make it clear that the Ministry of Education must immediately cover the gaps on the one hand, and on the other hand it must emphasize covering the needs of Special Education”.
Chania: “Scream” of anguish from teachers and parents for dozens of gaps – 127 children helpless
Primary Education in Chania remains with 127 parallel support teacher vacancies, with the consequence that students who need special scientific support are in the air.
On the morning of Wednesday, September 21, teachers and parents’ representatives staged a protest at the offices of the Directorate of Primary Education on Gerola Street, demanding immediate filling of the gaps and additional upgrading of the schools that have been demoted and which operate as five-seaters.
It is the second year that dozens of school students in the entire regional unit of Chania are deprived of the parallel support to which they are entitled. At the same time, 30 positions in educational specialties and forty-four positions for ZEP reception departments aimed at vulnerable groups with cultural and religious peculiarities remain unfilled. This is the institution of Educational Priority Zones that has been included in primary schools and is a necessary help for children who do not speak Greek.
According to the president of the Association of Primary Education Teachers of Chania, Mr. Antonis Tsalapakis, the sector’s request is also to appoint teachers who will cover the leaves of their colleagues in emergency cases. The anguish of parents of students who need parallel support was conveyed by Mrs. Maria Giannaki, a member of the Federation of Parents’ Associations of Crete. “We are talking about children who remain without support even though they have been diagnosed with specific problems and need special scientific support,” he noted.
The head of the Directorate of Primary Education of Chania, Mrs. Popi Psaroudaki, told neakriti.gr that the vacancies will be filled by hiring substitutes, a process that is ongoing. As for the ZEP departments, he made it known that in the coming days 33 positions will be filled, with priority in schools with refugee children and immediately after in the relegated primary schools of Drapania, Kantanou and Skine-Fourne. Mrs. Psaroudaki expressed her support to the principals of the above schools, stating the management’s intention to support them with equipment and means necessary for the educational work.
Educators and parents’ representatives reiterated the request for staffing of all schools without exception in order to function as six-seaters. At the moment, at the level of the regional unit, the Primary School of Kantanou, the Primary School of Drapania in Kissamos and the Primary School of Fourne – Skine in Alikianos of the municipality of Platania operate as five-seaters. “We call on the Directorate of Education to bring a new proposal to the Ministry of Education to see that the schools of the province need support just like the province itself to function smoothly” said Mr. Tsalapakis. But also Mrs. Giannaki, representing the parents and guardians, noted that in addition to the inland schools, other schools in Platanias and Kolymbari also face a similar issue, while adding that there are also many classes of 25 students which ultimately operate to the detriment of education .
The Regional Councilor of the People’s Rally, Mr. Alekos Marinakis, was present at the teachers’ mobilization, who spoke of a retreat, emphasizing that “in the 1970s, there was a struggle to have one teacher per class and we reached the point of returning there”.
The Association of Primary Education Teachers maintains that for the specific schools that have been demoted to five-seaters, it is possible to restore their operation as six-seaters, with a simple recommendation of the Service Council.
In Rethymno – Forty vacancies in the secondary school
At the same time, there are 40 vacancies in the secondary education of the prefecture of Rethymno, according to the president of ELME Rethymno, Christos Souroulis. As Mr. Souroulis made clear, 30 of the 40 gaps concern Special Education. “The gaps in secondary education in the prefecture of Rethymno amount to 40. Of the 40 school gaps, 30 of them concern Special Education and 10 concern General Education. The biggest problem is in Special Education.” Mr. Souroulis spoke about the new school year, making it clear that the government bears responsibility for the unsafe opening of schools with regard to the coronavirus, while he argued that unequal relations are being created between teachers against the background of the innovations and initiatives of the Ministry of Education that concern the school coordinator and the pedagogical mentor. “The education community is concerned about the lack of protective measures regarding the coronavirus. The government did not introduce any security measures and at the same time instituted new positions within the educational community and more specifically teacher mentors and school coordinators. These new positions create unequal relations between teachers located in the same school complex. As well as they do not offer any beneficial results in the educational process and practice”, argued Mr. Souroulis.