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Anxious students brace to make up for lost school days due to strike


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Thursday marked the 15th day of public schools being closed due to the teachers' strike demand a 50-per cent pay raise, drawing concerns from all affected parties.
"I support the teachers' right to the raise, but honestly, it has been three weeks, and perhaps this is the first time students have had an almost four-month summer break. I am afraid this will continue for too long, it will be hard to control the situation if it does," Na'eem Al Aqqad, whose son is in the ninth grade, told The Jordan Times on Thursday.
Fadi Ibrahim, a Tawjihi (the general secondary education certificate examination) student, said: "I am taking private classes for some of the subjects that need to be covered. Many students take private classes for certain subjects, but other subjects need to be covered at school, and if this continues, we will be under so much pressure to make up for the units we have missed."
A teacher at a school in Amman, who preferred to remain anonymous, told The Jordan Times that the Ministry of Education's proposal tied the increase in salaries to the teachers' ranks. 
"There are currently five ranks of teachers that are based on experience, and it takes several years for teachers to move from one rank to another, while for vocational teachers, the increase of the rank is tied to certain tests that they need to pass," the teacher said.
When asked why the JTA rejected the proposal, the teacher said that the ministry’s plan was to increase assistant teachers' salaries by 15 per cent, teachers by 20 per cent, higher rank teachers by 30 per cent and experienced teachers by 40 per cent. 
"However, if the lowest ranks get paid a total of JD350 for example, the 15 per cent proposed increase would not apply to it. It would only apply to the main salary, which could be a maximum of JD160, making the increase approximately only JD24," the teacher said.
The teachers' salaries are divided into three parts: The main salary, the cost of living allowance and a technical or specialised allowance. The teachers’ demand of a 50-per cent pay raise refers to the main salary alone, he noted. 
The Jordan Times attempted to contact the JTA several times for comment but the spokesperson was unreachable. 
On their Facebook page, the JTA warned the teachers against participating in any protests that might turn the demands from professional to political, urging everyone to commit only to requests issued officially from the association. 
The JTA earlier rejected the government’s first proposal, describing it as “vague”, and criticised the proposal’s failure to address or acknowledge teachers’ demands.

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