Education minister in hot water after teachers test fiasco

It was a complete fiasco by any standards. The controversial government test designed to assess teachers’ knowledge – and make them pay for it – collapsed in ignominious scenes yesterday (December 18), with union bosses now calling for the resignation of education minister Nuno Crato (pictured).

The secretary general of teachers’ union Fenprof told Correio da Manhã newspaper today that Crato “has no conditions whatsoever to continue heading-up education” in Portugal.

Mário Nogueira made his points after protests called by Fenprof stopped the test going ahead in at least 40 schools up and down the country.
President of the National Association of Teachers, César Israel Paulo, told the newspaper: “No teacher wants to do the test.”

He was also extremely critical of the government decision to send riot police in to secure schools where the test was being held. “We are not terrorists,” he said.
As critics mull over a day marked by protests, tears and frustrations, Público newspaper reports that an unrepentant Crato is now thinking of the next date for a re-run of the test.

At issue, the paper reports the Ministry of Education as saying, is “the right of parents and families to ensure the best teachers are chosen to teach”.

Teachers refute this line of thought, saying it is quite outrageous that trained professionals who have spent years getting a degree and teaching should be subjected to a random test of their knowledge – and be forced to pay for it.

Crato’s original plan was to have covered the entire profession – and would have swelled government coffers by around a million euros. A subsequent u-turn saw the test scaled back to cover only teachers with less than five years experience in the classroom.

Público newspaper report that the re-run of the test is now scheduled for January.