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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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Education and the crisis in central and eastern europe l.jpg

Education and the crisis in Central and Eastern Europe

Guntars Catlaks

Coordinator Research

Education International

CEE Roundtable | Novotel Centrum | Budapest, 22-23 Oct 2009

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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

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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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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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)

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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Case: Latvia – budget cuts 2010 (%)

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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

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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”.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Thank you for your attention!


Coordinator Research

Education International

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