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After 26 dialogue sessions at the Negotiations Table set up by the Ministry of Education and the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (Fecode) on June 22, this weekend an agreement was reached to improve the conditions of teachers and continue the process of returning to face-to-face classes.
As reported by the Ministry of Education, " the parties ratify the ethical commitment and responsibility that corresponds to us as public servants with the provision of the educational service in person in the classrooms in all official educational institutions."
In this sense, the teachers and the national government recognized that the return to the classrooms will continue to be carried out under the biosafety conditions that the Ministry of Health and Social Protection has defined for the educational community. "Presence for children, adolescents and young people who access official schools is a very important commitment to promote their mental health, comprehensive development, strengthen learning and the construction of life projects," added the Health portfolio .
Fecode, in its statement on the new agreements signed at dawn on August 7, did not comment on the presence. That point occupied an entire chapter of the negotiation, called The School of Presence, and had been signed in the previous weeks between both parties, in which it was agreed to maintain the return to the classrooms for the second semester of 2021, but under conditions previous and verifiable established in Resolution 1721 of 2020.
The agreement is key, because one of Fecode's complaints to oppose the presence, was the lack of conditions and guarantees of biosafety in some educational institutions. It was agreed that the attendance will be suspended only in exceptional cases, in which there is no capacity of the classrooms, there is no total vaccination of the staff or the city or municipality faces a serious epidemiological situation.
In institutions where the biosafety protocols established by the authorities are not complied with, the agreement establishes that the Secretariats of Education of the place where the school is located will set up a monitoring table with a representative from Fecode, a rector and a parent, which will report, in turn, to the Ministry of Education. Actions will be streamlined to return to the presence.
Other agreements between teachers and the Government
Teachers hope that resources for education will increase gradually and progressively, after the agreement on a constitutional reform to the General Participation System that was signed in the agreements. A project that the Government must present in the next six months to generate greater budget items and investments that improve the quality of education in the country.
The teacher promotion process will also have modifications. It was agreed to modify the model and approach of teacher evaluation so that "it responds to the current demands of the system, to the challenges in terms of quality, evaluation and financial viability and that it is projected as a strategy for continuous improvement of the same career". A new list for promotions and relocations will be generated under the new scheme.
Additionally, the national government will co-finance and convene a training course for 8,000 teachers and teacher directors for those who participated in the third cohort and did not achieve the required score for promotion or relocation. Those who pass the course will be able to access the promotional benefits.
Teachers' conditions will be improved through recognition of the proportionality of the vacation bonus , with an increase in the pedagogical bonus from 15% to 19% of salary. In addition, there will be a review of the Qualifications Manual for Loss of Work Capacity, implement the General System of Safety and Health at Work, selection of user ombudsman, in order to guarantee quality in the health service for teachers.
“Out of respect for life, physical integrity and human rights in teaching and union work, the will of the Government to generate guarantees for the exercise of union activity was reiterated and actively support the processes for comprehensive, collective and individual ”, informed the Ministry of Education on the agreements.
Finally, it was agreed to continue with the National Sports Games and the Folkloric and Cultural Encounter of Colombian Teachers for 2021, which will have the resources required for their planning and the inclusion of new sports measures and cultural modalities.