National Council fails to veto amendments to education act

Ljubljana – The National Council has voted on Wednesday on a proposal for a suspensive veto on amendments to the act on the organisation and financing of education, which was rejected with 14 votes in favour and 21 votes against. The council also rejected a suspensive veto on the tenth Covid relief legislative package.

The controversial coalition-sponsored amendments, under which the number of staff represented on school councils would be reduced to level with those of parents and municipality or state as the school’s founder, were passed by the National Assembly on 22 December.

Today, the National Council voted on whether to veto the amendments on proposal of a group of workers in education who believe that they would diminish the role of the teaching profession in order to achieve greater political influence in education institutions.

Council member Branimir Štrukelj, speaking on behalf of the group that tabled the veto, said that the adopted amendments recklessly interfered in the hitherto well-established relationships in school councils.

“At the first glance, equal representation on the councils is less controversial than in the original proposal, but it does not address the key reasons that caused the asymmetric composition of school councils,” he stressed.

Štrukelj went on to mention that experts and the teaching profession have clearly spoken out against the changes in the composition of school councils in a public letter against politicisation of schools and kindergartens.

The quality of Slovenian schools is also reflected in the international PISA survey, where Slovenian students achieved above-average results, added Štrukelj, who believes that the proposed changes show a lack of confidence in the teaching profession.

The National Council’s Commission for Culture, Science, Education and Sport supported the veto, as expressed by the commission’s vice-president Bojan Režun.

He said that it was unacceptable to adopt such an important bill in a fast-track procedure and in an emergency parliamentary session, without properly analysing and evaluating the performance of education institutions.

However, many members of the National Council found the changes to the representation on school councils to be a well-balanced compromise and did not support the veto, which was ultimately rejected.

The upper chamber of parliament also rejected a suspensive veto on the tenth Covid relief legislative package. The prevailing opinion among council members was that the legislation should enter into force as soon as possible.