How to deal with a teacher’s strike
An American teacher has become the latest overseas educator to be on strike, accusing her employers of using the national anthem to try to keep her from teaching in her home country.
Teacher Michelle Sarek, who was born in the Philippines, and her mother, who also taught in the United States, have been protesting the national song for more than a year over the lack of pay.
They’ve taken their fight to the United Nations, where they have been backed by the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, which has threatened to take action.
The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has threatened sanctions against the teachers, but it has so far been unable to reach a consensus on the merits of the dispute.
The teachers are not alone.
China, the United Republic of Tanzania, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nigeria, Cambodia, Cambodia and Zimbabwe have all signed the letter, which says the anthem has no “national value.”
The teachers say they are also refusing to allow their children to participate in any activities until they receive pay increases, which they say would mean less time for learning.
Sarek and her family are among more than 60,000 teachers and other educators who are expected to strike across the globe this month.
They have called on countries to increase their national contributions to the education system and to guarantee a living wage.
The strike has caused international uproar.
The teachers’ demands, backed by an international coalition of teachers unions, include pay increases and more time for teaching in classrooms.
They say they would like to see the anthem removed from classrooms altogether and replaced with a new song, in a way that does not portray the struggles of the students.
Sareck said she and her colleagues are frustrated because they have not been able to get enough support from other teachers, especially those in developing countries.
Sawad Hidayat, the secretary general of the National Teachers Union of Tanzania (NTU), said the strike is not about the national flag.
It’s about what is important to the country, he told the AP.
“We are very worried about the situation in Tanzania,” Hidayad said.
Hidayad added that the NTU is prepared to go to the UN to ask for an emergency meeting if teachers are unable to work.
He also said that the teachers’ strike will not affect education in other countries.
Many countries have adopted a “national anthem” to honour their national heroes, said Hidayah.
A spokesman for UNESCO, John Schindler, told the Associated Press on Monday that UNESCO has been in regular contact with the teachers and has not ruled out any measures that might be taken.
“We hope that this will lead to a positive outcome,” Schindlers spokesman Paul Schulte said in a statement.UNESCO said it would send an envoy to the Philippines to “examine” the teachers grievances.