by Khaled Neimat

Aug 17, 2014

AMMAN — Members of the Jordan Teachers Association (JTA) on Sunday started an open-ended strike amidst parliamentary efforts to resolve the issue one week before students return to school.

The association issued a statement on Sunday reporting that the majority of teachers around Jordan have joined the strike.

No major incidents took place, according to the statement, but, the JTA claimed that security agencies sent agents to nine schools to collect information on participants, describing such actions as “unjustified”.

Moreover, some school principals attempted to pressure teachers to prevent them from participating in the strike, the statement said, adding that “they threatened teachers with salary deductions if they don’t go back to work.”

“The strike, on its first day, went according to plan,” the statement quoted JTA Spokesperson Ayman Okour as saying.

Teachers showed up at schools across the country, but did not carry out any duties, he added, noting that this week marks the return of teaching and administrative staff to work.

Students return to school next Sunday.

“We hope that the government will meet our demands before students go back to school,” Okour said.

Meanwhile, the Lower House Education Committee on Sunday met with a delegation from the JTA, in the presence of Education Minister Mohammad Thneibat, to discuss the demands of the association and to find a way out of the current situation.

The meeting did not bring about any positive results, but the parties agreed to meet again to further discuss the demands and set a timetable for implementation.

Deputy Mohammad Qatatsheh, who heads the House’s Education Committee, said the majority of the JTA’s demands are “valid”, but noted that “we in the Lower House will support the public interest.”

The JTA demands focus mainly on issues relating to reforming the education sector in the country, JTA Vice President Ghaleb Mashaqbeh said, dismissing claims that the syndicate is “playing politics”.

The JTA wants the government to amend the civil service by-law, improve teachers’ health insurance, draft laws to protect them, offer them more financial benefits, endorse the private schools by-law, and refer the education security fund case to the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Source: The Jordan Times.