The Slovenia Times

Debate on education stresses need to restore teachers' autonomy


"We can talk and adopt all we want, but if teachers and headmasters are not given due social recognition and enough autonomy, we'll have done nothing," Boris Zupančič, a former ministry official, told the meeting of around 100 education professionals in Ljubljana.

The need for more autonomy was highlighted by several more participants, as was the related issue of ever growing administrative burdens faced by teachers.

"Instead of finishing the working day with preparations for the next day, I have to fill in forms about what I did," Paulina Ošlak, a primary school teacher said.

Janja Čolić of the English Teachers' Society spoke of an "all-out bureaucratisation of the teaching profession", wondering "how to educate knowledgeable citizens when teachers themselves have to stick to rigid proceedings".

Trade unionist Branimir Štrukelj of the SVIZ agreed more trust should be put in teachers, pointing out that Finland for instance had cancelled school inspections already in 1990.

The discussion, held as the ministry is drawing up a white paper on education, heard a number of other proposals, among them a call to teach children more about politics and about various religions.

Štrukelj argued that the white paper should definitely include a chapter on the professional development of teachers, while a representative of parents urged a coordination and quality review of curricula, including to make sure certain subjects are taught too soon.

Secondary school teacher Patricija Frlež also said that in order to raise quality, the number of pupils per class should be cut to 24 and the number of pupils per school also reduced.


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