Warsaw, 24th April 2019
The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers presents a substantive education system reform proposal to the Social Dialogue Council
In the face of recent discussions and negotiations centred around the teachers’ strike, conducted among others amongst social partners whose representatives sit on the Social Dialogue Council, the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers reminds the public opinion of its publication under the title “School for life. Who will pay for our pensions?”. Since the Union perceives the education system as one of the key elements of the future of the state and the economy, we prepared a comprehensive program of reforms aimed at bringing pupils and parents back to their central role in the system.
“Sole discussions about pay issues themselves, or even more so about the formula of debeta about education, seem to be completely unproductive” emphasises Cezary Kaźmierczak, the Union’s President. “That is why we came up with the proposal that our document be the starting point for the debate between the authorities in power and their social partners.”
The education system reform program as proposed by the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers assumes a thorough reform of the financing model and of the functioning of schools. The document stresses that the “money follows the pupil” principle is not being implemented at the moment, which significantly hinders the introduction of competition mechanisms between schools. The system of awarding educational subsidies is complicated and does not reward the best institutions, and the freedom of financial management of schools is significantly limited by rigid remuneration of teachers set out in the Teachers’ Charter. The Union postulates the liquidation of this harmful law and removing the cap on teachers’ salaries, so that the best can earn much more than they do at the moment. Schools, according to the Union, should be managed by special not-for-profit companies with their own budgets and supervisory boards, which should include representatives of parents, teachers, the local community as well as local entrepreneurs. This way, schools will be able to compete for pupils with each other. According to the Union, it is the lack of competition that led to such a pathological situation in the Polish education system.
“We believe that teachers rightly claim that they earn too little, but their postulates themselves are not right” says Cezary Kaźmierczak. “The point is not to put a different amount of money in the Teachers’ Charter. Even if we do that, the problem will come back to us anew in a few years. The idea is to liquidate the Charter and thoroughly reform the system, so that all teachers can negotiate their terms of employment independently.”
Therefore, in line with the project of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, real supervision over education is transferred to local communities and parents. We believe that these groups together with pupils should be at the centre of the system – not government officials. Only when institutions compete with each other for pupils, the best teachers will be rewarded too.
The report “School for life. Who will pay for our pensions?” was presented to the partners sitting in the Social Dialogue Council as a starting point for further debate on the education system in Poland. The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers expects a substantive debate regarding the postulates presented in this document, and not subsequent tests of strength taking place at the expense of Polish pupils.
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