Parliamentary body endorsees changes in education

Ljubljana – The parliamentary Education Committee endorsed late on Friday amendments to the organisation and financing of education act, which would change the composition of school and kindergarten councils to increase the influence of the founder, as members of the opposition obstructed.

The changes proposed by the coalition Democrats (SDS), New Slovenia (NSi), Modern Centre Party (SMC) and the two minority MPs, aim to modernise the goals of education in terms of promotion of EU values and curiosity, SDS MP Mojca Škrinjar said.

They also introduce the possibility of promotion for assistant teachers at kindergartens, change the rules on personal data collecting to enable digitalisation and change the composition of school and kindergarten councils to increase the influence of the founder – the government or municipality.

The latter was met with the most criticism, including from the SVIZ trade union of teachers, which has collected over 24,000 signatures among employees in education against the amendments.

The Association of Kindergartens also do not support the changes, warning that they might lead to politicisation. Damijan Štefanc from the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts echoed this.

Meanwhile, the National Council’s education commission has backed the changes with councillor Rajnko Fajt saying that the founder, who provides funding, should have more say in the school and kindergarten councils. According to him, the proposal also enjoys the support of an association of municipalities.

The opposition was very critical that the coalition had drawn the proposal without consulting experts and that the original proposal had been significantly changed with multiple amendments filed just before the session.

The opposition thus demanded the session to be suspended so that a debate on the proposal could be held. After several suspensions of the session, the committee rejected the proposal by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ).

After almost eight hours, Luka Mesec from the opposition Left then warned the committee chair, Iva Dimic (NSi) that the session must not continue after 10pm.

But Dimic ignored him and proceeded with the voting on amendments, so Mesec announced he would demand her dismissal as the committee chair on Monday.

Thus, only members of the SDS, NSi and SMC voted on the amendments.