Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bulgarian government takes revenge on teachers

Last week we learned from the TV news that teachers who give private lessons will be obliged to report this. Also, they will not be allowed to teach privately students from the same schools (which means that smaller towns having only one school automatically become private lessons-free zones).
Hearing this, I immediately connected it to the teachers' strike that took place last autumn (mentioned in my Oct. 16, 2007 post). At the end, teachers' salaries were raised only slightly. I am not sure if the pay increase even compensates for inflation. And now, rulers take a petty-minded and malicious revenge on teachers for daring to raise their heads. Even my husband, who has no connection to education, was quite outraged.
I am reading now (e.g. here) that these changes are proposed by government and haven't been yet voted by the National Assembly. Also, I don't see the restriction on teaching students from the same school. It is possible that it isn't actually written in the proposed act and somebody is only trying to intimidate. We'll see.
Teachers will be obliged to report their private lessons not to tax authorities, as a normal government would require, but to the school principal. Maybe the ministers thinks that it is good if private lessons are given only by teachers who are principal's friends. Or that the principal will guarantee high quality and reasonably low price of the private lessons given by his employees. Or there is another reason I cannot grasp? Can anyone please enlighten me? Because I am apparently too stupid.
The late Ani Drandarova had written on a similar occasion, "Bulgarian state resembles a wretched husband who lies that he is going on a business trip in order to check whether his wife would invite a lover. Such a husband will have a hard time of it! Such a state will have a hard time of it!"
Update: A discussion on the subject on my Bulgarian blog reminded me of something that also has to be said: Many university teachers give private lessons to students and candidate students. Why doesn't anybody speak about them, only about school teachers? Recently, an associate professor from the Sofia University was recorded by a reporter posing as a candidate students using a hidden camera. She not only offered private lessons to the young man but also promised to write him an inflated grade if she happens to assess his work at the entrance exam! Why aren't university teachers ordered to declare to the Dean if they give private lessons, and to teach only people studying at or applying for other universities? Because we university teachers were good and obedient and didn't strike. So we may now teach privately as much as we wish and nobody will go after us. Perhaps only an occasional wicked reporter with a hidden camera :-).

No comments: