San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Law Gives Teachers More Job Stability

Teachers may enjoy more job stability next school year after lawmakers last week approved legislation increasing the maximum number of classes they can teach.

The law, proposed in May by President Oscar Arias and Education Minister Leonardo Garnier after consulting with teachers’ unions, increases from 32 to 40 the maximum number of weekly classes that can make up full-time teaching jobs.

Teachers, paid per class, have trouble supporting themselves with just 32 classes, and most have supplemented their salaries with up to 12 temporary positions, or plazas interinas.

The text of the law acknowledges that a 32-class load “generates uncertainty and work-related instability…considering that the remuneration is not sufficient.”

Another problem was that the Education Ministry had trouble keeping tabs on teachers with temporary positions.

“It complicates the system of human resources and payment… and (creates) unnecessary procedures and tramités,” the law reads.

Arias must now sign the law for it to take effect. The President, who decides the legislative agenda during the extraordinary session in August, pushed the law through by calling for its debate.

The law’s passage was a principal demand by hundreds of teachers who went on strike in late July (TT, Aug. 3).

Edgar Durán, general secretary of the High-School Teachers’ Association (APSE), which called for the strike, said he is pleased with the law’s passage. The next step, he said, will be to monitor how the extra classes are distributed.


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