If teacher requests are granted it would double MEP budget

The Ministry of Public Education (MEP) would have to double its budget if the requested benefits for the first collective agreement negotiated with the teachers union are approved.

To offer free education for more than 900,000 children and young people Costa Rica would spend ¢ 1.5 billion per year, equivalent to 7.02% of gross domestic product (GDP).

However, to satisfy the demands of the Union of Education Workers Costarricense (SEC) would have an additional cost of ¢ 1.1 trillion, that means, 5.1% of GDP (gross domestic product).

So if they approve all requests of the SEC, the Ministry’s budget would grow to ¢ 2.7 trillion per year. That amount of money represents 12.1% of GDP and 45.6% of the entire national budget.

This estimate was made by the MEP, but as warned it may not be, since no other demands includes, for example, improvements in the infrastructure of schools and colleges.

It does not include the cost of various benefits requested by the union as housing bonds for teachers, taxi revenue to go to work in dangerous schools, or the Internet and computer to people who teach in tourist areas or in rural areas .

Mario Mora, MEP Vice Minister of Planning, said that all the current budget is committed, so it is difficult to make money from there to compensate for these demands.

He argued that the only way to finance the collective agreement, that the Costa Ricans would pay more taxes.

However, Gilbert Diaz, chairman of the SEC, said the numbers are inflated Ministry. “They are totally unrealistic,” he said.

Diaz argued that the financing of the convention are not new taxes needed, but better use the current budget. ”

They also ask that groups are not more than 20 students, enjoy 11 weeks vacation a year instead of nine and enjoy a license for 24 months maternity leave.

In addition, they want the MEP, open kindergartens in each school to care for children under four years of its officials.

Another requirement is to pay overtime, for educators to participate in parades, meetings and science fairs outside the school.

The petitions include a bonus of up to 30% if the teacher has another career, offers workshops and teaches at tourist sites.

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