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Education and the crisis in Central and Eastern Europe

Education and the crisis in Central and Eastern Europe . Guntars Catlaks Coordinator Research Education International CEE Roundtable | Novotel Centrum | Budapest, 22-23 Oct 2009. P urpose of presentation. Provide a preliminary analysis of EI follow-up survey on impact of crisis on education

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Education and the crisis in Central and Eastern Europe

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  1. Education and the crisis in Central and Eastern Europe Guntars Catlaks Coordinator Research Education International CEE Roundtable | Novotel Centrum | Budapest, 22-23 Oct 2009

  2. Purpose of presentation • Provide a preliminary analysis of EI follow-up survey on impact of crisis on education • Set the findings in context to other EI research and further documentation • Compare the impact of the crisis on CEE and Western European education sectors

  3. Presentation structure • Survey design and purpose • Response rate • Cuts in Education • Salaries and non-salary benefits • Municipal level • School level measures • Stimulus packages and ODA • Two cases: Latvia and Ireland • Unions response and actions • Way forward

  4. Context • Online update of impact of crisis on education worldwide • Follows EI January 2009 survey, which collated information from 40 countries worldwide • Based on assumption that impact now is felt worldwide • Tries to assess its forms more specifically • First results used in EI High Level Seminar in Warsaw, 2-4 September 2009 • Deadline was 15 September 2009 • Contributions continue to arrive

  5. Response • Organizations from 36 countries filled on-line survey • 27 from Europe • 3 from Latin America • 2 from Asia Pacific • 2 from Africa • 2 from North America/Caribbean • More paper questionnaires were submitted by EI Latin American regional office • Case study from Ireland

  6. Cuts in investment in Education (1): • Many middle- and high-income countries significantly affected by the crisis, especially in CEE (UNESCO 2009) • Eastern Europe - countries have implemented budget cuts: Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Romania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary • VET and higher education more likely subject to budget cuts than primary education (UNESCO 2009)

  7. Cuts in investment in Education (2): • ‘Soft’ areas of education are most affected: language courses, arts, programmes for integration of minority groups, counseling • Delayed investment in non-salary expenditure (e.g. Infrastructural investments in Poland) • Teacher salary cuts (Lithuania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia) and salary freezes (Romania, Serbia) • Reductions in non-salary benefits (Estonia, Poland)

  8. Main findings from follow-up survey: (1) redundancies, salaries and non-salary benefits • In 7 countries there are cuts in salaries: between 3% and 20% in all levels, VET and higher education being most affected • In 22 countries disability insurance has been cut or reduced • In 4 countries retirement expenditures and pension schemes has been reduced • In 12 countries teachers have been laid-off because of crisis

  9. Main findings from follow-up survey: (2) increased role of municipalities • There is trend to devolve funding responsibilities for education on municipalities and/or private entities • In 7 countries (Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Poland) municipalities received greater funding responsibilities • In 3 countries private entities increased their role • In 2 countries both municipalities and private entities are increasing their share in education funding as a result of crisis policies

  10. Main findings from follow-up survey: (3) school level measures • Schools, in particular small public schools in rural areas, being closed, merged, or reorganised (Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Russia), in particular primary, secondary and VET schools [W. Europe: public primary, secondary and VET schools similarly facing closure, merging and reorganisation (France, Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, U.K.)] • Class sizes expanded (Lithuania, Estonia) • In Croatia, tuition fees have been applied/increased

  11. Main findings from follow-up survey: (4) stimulus packages and ODA • CEE countries have stimulus packages (e.g. Romania), but not focused on education • Latvia has announced reductions in ODA (UNESCO 2009) • Macedonia receives ODA, not reduced

  12. Main findings from follow-up survey: (5) unions’ response and actions • In Croatia and Estonia, unions involved in (at least formal) negotiations with governments as a follow-up on the economic crisis • Unions involved with other NGOs and organizations in the context of economic crisis in their countries (Croatia - ongoing relationships among unions to provide public awareness of the economic crisis, Poland - with other unions, Romania - collaboration among unions primarily on policy issues, Estonia - Rectors' Conference Estonian Cooperation Assembly, Lithuania - all four trade unions have established in July 2008 a coordinating centre and cooperate by solving different questions)

  13. Case: Latvia • Latvia faces one of the hardest budget cuts in education • 6 000 teachers were laid-off as from September 2009 (out of 35 000 in total) • Teacher salaries have been cut between 15% and 30% • More than 50 primary and secondary schools announced to be closed in 2010 (out of 800 in total) • Many VET institutions closed or reorganized • Civil servants salaries were cut by 15% in December 2008 and further 10% in June 2009 • Pensions were slashed by 10% and by 70% for working pensioners

  14. Case: Latvia – budget cuts 2010 (%)

  15. Human face of crisis: Latvia We are living in pessimism and uncertainty. I’m not sure what we will do next. I have started to look for a new job. Started thinking if I should change my profession and move away…. BaibaČadore (29) teacher

  16. Case: Ireland (1) • Ireland’s economic boom imploded in 2008 • The response of the State to this crisis is still emerging and largely consists of providing significant financial support to the banking sector and drastically reducing government spending • The government has committed itself to reducing public expenditure by over 13 billion euro over the next three years • The attack on the role of Trade Unions, and the broad equality agenda of the labour movement • The dominant message is that “everyone had a good time during the last decade, so we must all take the pain”.

  17. Case: Ireland (2) • Slash of financial supports for schools, including: • Financing for equipment for Science laboratories, school libraries and textbooks • Programmes to prevent early school leaving • Financing for school choirs • Financing for vocationally-oriented programmes and other less academic programmes which required additional teachers • Financing for migrant children needs

  18. Case: Ireland (3) • In terms of pay for all public sector salaries, the government imposed: • A “pension levy” of an average 7.5%; a pay cut by another name • Implemented a pay pause for 11 months • Non-payment of 3.5% pay increase in September 2009, agreed under social partnership • Non-payment of 2.5% pay increase in Spring 2010, agreed under social partnership • New additional 1% “income levy” on all salaries, public and private sector

  19. Case: Ireland (4) Unions • Drawn the attention of society to the dangers posed to the quality of education system by the financial cutbacks • Focused on the injustice being done to young people who are denied basic tools for learning such as library books • Formed “platforms” or alliances with parents and school management authorities • Alliances with other trade unions, and organizing huge public meetings of members around such alliances • Sustained campaign called “There is a Better Fairer Way” which is uniting the public and private sector workers by arguing for a more just taxation system

  20. Main successes • Increased awareness of union’s presence among members and society • Avoidance or reduction of salary cuts and lay-offs • Increased direct subsidies to municipalities for education • Inflationary salary increments • Implementation of social justice: more earnings – more cuts! • Commitment to wage increases in near future • Greater financial autonomy at school level • Increased impact on government. Alliances with other unions and civil society

  21. Main failures • Reductions and cuts of education budgets, salaries and lay-offs of staff • Closure of public schools in rural areas • Worsening of working conditions for remaining teachers • Increasing non-satisfaction of parents • Inability to get full information on spending and stimulus • Low degree of media attention and objective analysis • Lack of engagement with government • Resistance of other unions to commit to joint platform of demands and actions

  22. Way forward: 9 steps • Continue to lobby governments for education spending • Encourage municipalities to invest in education • Launch campaigns “don’t let the children pay for crisis” • Engage in negotiations on salaries and working conditions at all levels of government • Monitor effects of financial cuts in education in society • Inform members and society about impacts of crisis • Form alliances with other trade unions and federations on budget issues • Organize protest activities at national and local level • Use international solidarity as a multiplying force

  23. What is expected from EI • Provide data and knowledge on how other countries are handling the crisis • Spread our main demands worldwide: that education and research must be seen as investments not costs • Maintain and enforce global advocacy with international bodies such as EU, OECD, World Bank, IMF, UNESCO • Help to organize seminars and conferences for members • Give support in negotiations with governments – provide economical arguments • Organize international solidarity campaign

  24. Thank you for your attention! GuntarsCatlaks, Coordinator Research Education International guntars.catlaks@ei-ie.org

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