MORE THAN 100,000 teachers and support staff thronged Lisbon’s streets on Saturday to protest against the government’s teacher evaluation scheme.
It was the second time in a year that teachers from all over Portugal voiced their discontent at government policies to raise teaching and education standards in the country.
But the fact that almost an entire professional class had taken to the streets to demand that the government drop the unpopular policy has, so far, fallen on deaf ears at the Ministry of Education.
Education Minister Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues insisted once again over the weekend that the policy, which she claims aims to buck up and weed out poor teachers, will continue.
The government has instigated the widely unpopular policy, whereby teachers are evaluated according to the results they achieve in the classroom, as part of an overall shake-up to the nation’s education system aimed at creating an eventually better educated young workforce able to compete in an increasingly globalized and competitive world.
Mário Nogueira, Secretary-General of the National Federation of Teachers (FENPROF), said it would be a “terrible distortion of democracy if the government failed to draw conclusions and consequences of a second demonstration of such grand proportions”.
The Ministry of Education has warned that any teacher refusing to be evaluated on performance would not achieve career progression.
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