Following his press conference in which he outlined all the unfulfilled promises the SDSM party made regarding the energy sector, VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski today pointed to dozens of reforms SDSM said will initiate in the education sector, but never did.
Chief among the betrayed promises was how Zoran Zaev’s party failed to make sure that wages in education keep rising along with the minimum wage. Zaev’s Government ordered several hikes of the minimum wage, up to 14.500 denars (240 EUR), but ignored the collective agreement with public sector teachers which links their salaries with the minimum wage.
According to the minimum wage law, salaries in elementary and high school education should have risen to an average of 36.700 denars (550 EUR). Wages in the education sector are calculated on the basis of the minimum wage, and even during the previous minimum wage level of 12.500 denars (200 EUR), salaries in the education sector were not aligned with the minimum wage, Mickoski said.
The average wage in the education sector is currently 23.680 denars (390 EUR). Public sector school unions held a warning strike on the first day of the school year and announced a full strike in mid November, but later accepted the proposal from the Zaev Government of a 10 percent hike. Mickoski said that even after the hike, the salaries will be far below what they should be under the legally mandate way of calculating them on the basis of the minimum wage.
Funding aside, Mickoski pointed to a long list of actual reforms that Zaev’s party said it will implement in its 2016 election program, but never did.
Over the past three years, we witnessed the failure of the reform plan and how the Government failеd to deliver on what was promised to the citizens during the 2016 election campaign. Our society filled with primitivism, decadence and all the while the lies continued and grew bigger, Mickoski said during his press conference.
– I will start with a promise that SDSM made in the pre-election period of 2016 in front of the citizens that it will focus on our young people, and that every young person would get a job offer, an opportunity to continue education, or receive a chance for internships and job training taht will lead to employment within 4 months after graduation. This promise has never initiated at all, Mickoski said.
A major pre-election promise made by SDSM, which helped them energize the students and the teachers during the Colored Revolution protests was that they will abolish the external testing. This program introduced year end tests which compared the grade students were given by their teachers with their actual knowledge levels. Teachers who gave grades best aligned with the score of their students were promised salary hikes while those whose grades were widest off the mark would face cuts and even the prospect of being fired. This outraged the school unions who protected the teachers from having their arbitrary grades verified, and it contributed to the SDSM led protests.
SDSM promised to abolish the external testing. To be fair, they did. But later they introduced a new external test which they now call state test, Mickoski said.
A different plan to stimulate good performing schools was promised by SDSM instead of the external testing salary hikes. This plan promised that in the 5 best performing schools, teachers will receive a 20 percent salary hike. Similar rewards would be given to the top 10 percent high schools.
This political lie was contained in their electoral program, which promised “Life in Macedonia”. Not only this was not done, no funding was ever provided in the budget for this item, Mickoski said.
Other ignored promises include the one where SDSM said it will reduce the number of classes students need to take, the promised introduction of descriptive grades until fifth grade and that schools will receive funding to open scientific and research centers – none of which was even done.