Colombia teachers march to call for improvements in public education

Bogota, Feb 28 (EFE).- Hundreds of Colombian teachers marched in Bogota on Tuesday at the behest of the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (Fecode) to call for nationwide improvements in public education.

The president of the union, Carlos Rivas, told EFE that the mobilization was called to demand that the nation’s “government of change” make a number of changes in the education sector, namely providing teachers with “the treatment that we … deserve, that public education deserves and that Colombian democracy deserves.”

Rivas also referred to the firing of Alejandro Gaviria from his post as education minister, a move that was announced by President Gustavo Petro on Monday, saying that the minister had not provided teachers with the opportunity “to have a synergy to be able to develop proposals in favor of public education.”

In this regard, Rivas criticized the fact that in the ministry headed by Gaviria “there was more of the same, there wasn’t any change or transformations to what we believe the president had just articulated.”

The march began at the Cundinamarca provincial government seat where a list of requests was put forward by teachers in that province, and after that they moved to the Education Ministry to deliver a second list of demands with a national character.

Participating in the demonstration were several teachers’ associations from different parts of the country, whose members shouted “Out with Hernando Bayona, with his neoliberal government policies! Out! Out!” in calling for the departurte of the deputy education minister.

Fecode vice president Christian Rey Camacho remarked to EFE that the teachers were hoping that the government “stands closely with the teachers and fulfills the objectives that we’ve been describing, which are defending public education and the rights of educators.”

Another Fecode member, Nelson Javier, said that the marchers want reform in the resources devoted to basic and average preschool education “to materialize once and for all” so that “the inequality gaps that exist today can be closed.”

He also said that educational infrastructure, connectivity, school meals and school transport must be improved to guarantee that all students in Colombia may have their rights guaranteed and “have better-quality education.”

EFE arm/lmg-ime/bp

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