No fewer than 350 school principals have been sacked in Tunisia where 17,000 teachers may also forfeit their pay over protests for increase in pay, authorities said on Monday.
The salary suspensions could affect about 30 percent of the country’s primary school teachers and will also escalate the conflict with the powerful UGTT Union at a time when the North African country’s citizens grapple with dire economic crisis.
Credible News reports that as part of their protest, teachers in the country have refused to hand in school grades and hundreds of school principals have already started submitting their resignations.
Education Minister Mahamed Ali Bougdiri said “the students’ failure to obtain school grades is a disaster and a crime against children”.
A Union official, Ikbel Azzabi told Reuters that Tunisia’s decision aims at “starving teachers”, and the next school season would be difficult due to expected protests.
The Education Ministry maintains that the country’s public finances do not allow the teachers’ requests to be approved.
Most people fear that the conflict between the Ministry and Union will deepen the ongoing crisis in Tunisia and threaten the new school season, amidst high inflation, poor public services, and loss of food commodities.