Teaching union SEW has criticised the increasing privatisation of public schools in the grand duchy.
(Photo : Julien Becker / archives paperJam)
education policy under fire
Two days before the start of the new school year, the SEW (the syndicate for education in the OGBL trade union organisation) has criticised what it claims is the deterioration of public schools in Luxembourg.
The teaching union expressed its frustration over current education policy, which, in its view, favourites a privatisation of public schools to the detriment of teachers and students. According to a press release issued on 11 July by the SEW, education minister Claude Meisch and the current government significantly exhaust public educational institutions: “minister Meisch does not acknowledge the complaints of teachers and therefore contributes to an increasing unease and demand for rectifications, which leads to an unstable pedagogic environment.”
Public secondary school resources are being utilised by English programmes, in SEW’s opinion. The current liberal policies grant secondary schools greater autonomy and encourage certain institutions to adopt foreign education systems. In its press release, SEW used the Lycée Michel Lucius (LML) as an example, where more than a third of the classes are Anglophone. However, few teachers have been trained in English systems. They are not only forced to adopt unknown programmes but also to make English the vehicular language in class. According to SEW, this “provokes a strong deterioration of school climate and, at the same time, worsens the quality of teaching.”
Monique Adam, the president of the general federation for teachers in Luxembourg (FGIL), stated in an open letter, released on 30 June, that the new liberal reforms have contributed to an increase of social chasms. In primary schools, the new teaching methods require “greater participation of parents, who are less available.”
If the teaching isn’t sufficient, wealthy families still have the option to seek help outside the public school, according to Adam. Competition between public and private schools becomes part of the game, as Adam explained: “a certain mode of governance observes with satisfaction or powerlessness how the gaps increase, probably considering the deterioration of public school as a necessity.”
Moreover, RTL has reported that some 28 teacher positions remain unfilled in Clervaux, . As a consequence, 92 classes had to be cancelled in the commune, mostly to the detriment of weaker pupils. According to RTL, this significant deficiency in primary teachers relates to the latest reforms, which expose teachers to more administrative tasks and lessens their independence at work.
The education ministry says it has the situation under control and is working on establishing additional tutoring in the north, according to RTL.