Friday 21st of February 2020 |
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Fears begin to surface as no breakthrough to end teachers’ strike on horizon


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — School was again not in session on Monday as teachers continued their open strike and no agreement was reached with the government regarding their demand of a 50-per cent pay raise.
While the teachers’ demands were met with popular support around the Kingdom, the lack of prospects for reaching an agreement soon has begun to raise fears over how much students would lag behind on the academic schedule if the strike drags on for long.
An informed source in Aqaba told The Jordan Times that such fears were voiced on Monday in a meeting between local community representatives and parents and the head of the Jordan Teachers Association's (JTA) Aqaba branch, Emad Matarneh. 
The source said that parents reiterated their support for the teachers’ cause and the fairness of their demands, but relayed concerns that through the strike, teachers are “using students’ rights as a bargaining chip to achieve their rights”.
The JTA says that the 50-per cent raise was agreed on with the government five years ago but failed to materialise, noting that the syndicate has been attempting to achieve its demands through dialogue for months, but to no avail.
The escalation into an open strike was announced after a sit-in in Amman on Thursday, during which the JTA claims violations were committed against its members.
The Public Security Department denied the allegations, but confirmed that 50 teachers were detained during the protest for “illegally forcing their way through to Fourth Circle”.
Since Saturday talks between the association and the government that produced no results, there has not appeared to be any direct communication between the two sides.
Social media posts showcased the divide among the public over the issue, with some expressing support for teachers’ right to demand justice, and others reflecting lack of confidence in public schools and their teachers’ aptitude. 
“They [public school teachers] do not teach well and drive students to take private lessons to pay more. If they taught them well, they would not need private lessons,” one user commented on Facebook.
Meanwhile, another Jordanian said, “why should teachers be weak and sacrifice their simplest right for everyone’s sake?”
Other users were shocked to learn that a 50-per cent raise would amount to only JD75 for many teachers’ salaries. 
The hashtags #with_the_teacher and #teachers_strike have gone viral since the Fourth Circle protest last week. 
Also on Monday, a source said that Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh had met with JTA Vice President Naser Nawasrah, but no breakthroughs were reached during the talks.

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