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Solís says he supports Costa Rica’s striking teachers

President-elect Luis Guillermo Solís (Photo: Casa Presidencial)

President-elect Luis Guillermo Solís (Photo: Casa Presidencial)

May 6th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) President-elect Luis Guillermo Solís said yesterday that he supports the nationwide strike launched by the country’s thousands of educators yesterday.

 

Teachers’ unions claim some 7,000 teachers and other school staff have been owed wages since as early as January.  The Ministry of Public Education (MEP) blames the problem on technical issues related to their payroll system.

 

“As an educator and a citizen, I join in solidarity with the striking teachers of Costa Rica.  What happened to the teachers of this country, due to the faulty application of the Integra-Dos payroll system, is not acceptable,” Solís said.

 

Solís said that incoming Education Minister, Sonia Marta Mora met with teachers unions to discuss the situation.

 

“We want this matter to be resolved with high priority and hopefully resolved in the shortest possible time,” Solís said.

 

“We want to see what the situation really is.  Some speak of thousands of teachers who are not paid, others say there are hundreds,” Solís said, adding that some teachers have suffered more missed paychecks than others.

 

“We’ll see how it plays out.  This will not be easy, the payroll system has a number of problems that were not foreseen,” Solís said.

 

Solís made the remarks during a meeting with a number of social groups where he received proposals for his new administration drafted by unions, cooperatives, the agricultural sector and others.

 

Union officials say they will continue the strike indefinitely until all past due wages are paid in full.

 

On Wednesday, educators from across the country plan to travel to San José in some 100 buses for a mass demonstration.

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  • Ben

    Okay thats good he wants to help. Where is he going to get the money? Costa Rica is out of money.

    • disgusted

      CR has a money printer right?/ Do what USA does just print up some money,. I am just joking Ben. I have not a clue I guess tax, tax and taxes!

      • Ben

        Your right again. TAX AND TAX glad to be moving to Panama

        • Ralph Carlson

          bye

    • gc

      Costa Rica collects a lot of money. anyone that could read a p&L statement and had CEO powers could eliminate the yearly debt here or in the usa in one year. the people just do not want to live that way. they like their high paid political connections to justify low paid welfare benefits. i.e. votes are bought so you can never cut only grow. that will have a fun end.

  • Canamjay

    My extended middle class Tico family includes many teachers; several with advanced degrees earned by great personal sacrifice. The disrespect shown for teachers in many US districts and increasingly in CR is disgusting and if not curbed, will show in the economy big time; just look at the sinking results of the US education system as compared with smarter countries around the world. Education is the foundation upon which every country builds its future and any country which does not act accordingly is doomed.

    • roberto

      Mr. Solis’s mother was an educator. He attended a private high school (Methodist). Private schools are not on strike so the kids of the ‘rich & shameless’ are in class. Obviously the power elite don’t care if the ‘worker- bees’ miss a few days of school.

      • Ben

        Solis is from Private school education he has not been a fan of public school system all of his kids went to private school. Solis has not been a friend to teachers in public school system.

        • roberto

          Thanks to the internet the ‘worker-bees’ are still getting a pretty good education;
          https://www.khanacademy.org/

        • gc

          how about you eliminate public schools. govt provides a voucher, licenses the schools, tests the kids for basics and revokes the bottom 5% of school licenses every year.

          • Ben

            Not a bad idea.

          • gc

            milton friedman’s

          • gc

            you could do the same with health care. every child born without critical immediate needs gets an MSA, medical savings account worth10K and invested in private CD’s to be used only for the the health of that child. a small amount each month could go to a catastrophic insurance policy purchased privately by each family covering 100% over your balance. as it earns interest and grows the insurance would pay less so payments would not rise as steeply due to age. special side funds could be invested to cover serious disability, accidents and illness. the smallest unit in the economy is not government, but the family. put the family in charge of education and healthcare and you are on your way to a balanced budget. after you fire all the overpaid dicks that run the current system.

          • Canamjay

            BUT first, honor the obligation entered into by the government… then argue about the future.

          • gc

            whatever. teachers have so many days off you cannot really call it work, add to that the strike days and phony sick days were an entire class is shut down. sorry, kids first, public teachers kiss my rear. actually, i doubt you can find much support for any public sector worker except from another public sector worker. you all screwed the pooch, now live with it.

          • El Torito

            THIS old chestnut! OK, gc, the profession is always looking for good teachers, so, if it’s a easy as you say, PLEASE get yourself in front of a class and work your magic! (Oh, I can hear the excuses tumbling forth already.) Sorry, gc. Try writing about what you actually KNOW.

          • gc

            my daughter has a masters in education, i am retired and help kids everyday with math and english for free.

          • gc

            oh, and you are not in the least bit sorry. insulated within the public class as you sound. you are just angry because tax payers do not believe you have a single answer to a single problem. if the thinking you believed were true the kids would be learning, and they are not. the kids are not learning. period.

        • Canamjay

          Teachers aren’t looking for a ‘friend’.. just someone with enough virtue to honor a legal obligation.

      • Canamjay

        Many private school teachers are members of Ande and are supporting their brethren in the huelga. And confusing this issue by comparing private vs public is irrelevant.

        • gc

          except that public schools fail to educate significant numbers of students and public students attend significantly fewer days in school even though public school teachers earn more when benefits are included.

        • roberto

          So how many of the private teachers are on the picket lines with their
          ‘brethren?’ Or are they sitting in their teachers lounges sipping coffee
          and waxing philosophically? How many children of the Ministers &
          the power elite go to public schools? Class warfare, elitism,
          corruption, nepotism, unaccountability, etc. Don’t you know who really
          runs Costa Rica? Costa Rica is ruled by an oligarchy of the rich and
          powerful and the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting
          poorer, or haven’t you noticed?

          • gc

            yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn

          • Canamjay

            Yes, Roberto, I’m aware of the 37 Families… there is truth in what you imply, but there is a substantial educated middle class, I agree many of whom send their kids to private schools of some sort, but quality of life for the vast majority of Ticos rivals that of many, if not most so-called developed ones. Unwise income distribution is a world-wide problem and I dare say, those living in ‘poor people’ status in other countries wish they had the quality and cost of living that Ticos have developed for themselves since the revolution and have every right to enjoy.

    • gc

      public education and private are 2 entirely different topics. the proof is in the pudding here and USA. public means successive less educated students that you pay successively more and more for. that is not disrespect, it is reality. even if somehow you can twist this to not blame the teachers individually you certainly cannot put the blame anywhere else than the educational and social welfare systems that made the mess. private schools that graduate dolts get closed.

      • Canamjay

        only a dolt could write that promising, then failing to pay an agreed salary is not an insult and in many venues, a crime. What world did you grow old in?

        • gc

          in a world where kids come before teachers. but don’t worry i will not call you any names.

          • El Torito

            I understand what Canamjay is getting at. You get what you pay for. Lousy pay topped off with public ridicule and abuse (as has become the practice in North America) will not attract quality educators to the profession.,..be it in the private or public sectors. Dedication alone does not put food on the table nor does it shield one from eroded self esteem.

          • gc

            if what you said was true, i would agree. however, public school unions are organized crime with kids and tax payers as the victims.

    • gc

      in the USA, the youth have become in large numbers essentially useless, and you are here to say that is due to disrespect teachers get? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • grammar nazi

    Great, Solis supports the teachers. That and 600 colones will get them a cafécita. How about just paying them, say this Friday.

    • Ben

      There´s no money to pay them. Education system is broke. Most teachers are working two jobs in Costa Rica to survive.

      • gc

        since the vast majority of the kids never pick up reading as a habit, cannot do basic math rote, have english teachers that cannot speak it maybe CR is paying the exact correct amount.

        • roberto

          You get what you pay for?

          • gc

            not with government

      • Canamjay

        Let’s hope their ‘other’ job pays on time..

    • Canamjay

      Absolutely! Teachers have both a legal contract AND a reasonable expectation they’ll get paid regularly. People here and elsewhere trying to debate private vs public, other irrelevant issues are obscuring what is crucial here; people have worked in good faith, have a life they’ve designed to run on their expected cash flow… are not being paid… how many scholars commenting here would be okay with that kind of unwarranted assault on THEIR livelihood… be it salary, pension or investment income. THAT is why this situation is wrong and it’s the gov that has reneged on a serious obligation.

  • expatin paradise

    I’m glad to see Solis stand up for unpaid government employees rather than for government incompetence. There is no excuse for nonpayment or underpayment of these school employees to persist for this long, and I’m glad that Solis is saying so. My guess is that nobody in the Education Ministry offices were among the unpaid. Even if someone had to hand out cash from an armored car, make electronic transfers for each employee, and/or input corrections for each for each individual whose data were incorrect, it should have been done long before now. I hope that Solis’ response is a sign that excuse-making will not be a trait of the incoming administration.