Australia: Almost 200 schools shut down as teachers protest

Australia: Almost 200 schools shut down as teachers protest

Agency News

Adelaide, Nov 29: Almost 200 schools shut down in Australia as thousands of public school teachers rallied outside Education Department in Adelaide.

Dressed in red, the teachers were protesting over a breakdown in negotiations with the South Australian Government over their new enterprise bargaining agreement. Flinders Street has been blocked off to all traffic, with protesters making their way to the rally from all corners of the city.

Signs stating "Try Harder Gardner" and "More Funding for Our Kids" were being waved to loud music. Schools were set to resume at 12:15 pm at the 192 schools that are closed.

Australian Education Union (AEU) SA president Howard Spreadbury said he was very happy with the number of teachers who joined the rally.

"I'm very pleased with the massive turnout of our members and community supports sending a very clear and definite message to the Marshall Government that they need to take us seriously and start listening to what we're putting [to] them in relation to our members' conditions and the learning environments of our students," Mr Spreadbury said.

Salisbury High School teacher Adrian Mann said the State Government was focused on putting money into school infrastructure rather than programs for vulnerable students.

"I just really want to see some more equality in terms of what we're able to do in terms of actioning resources," Mr Mann said.

"There's been a lot talked about resourcing by those in Government but much of it seems to be about infrastructure and it's all about what affects students in the classroom.

Contract teacher Teresa Tsouvallas said teachers wanted more permanency. "It just makes our future a lot more unsure and we really need teachers that are enthusiastic to stay around and actually have a permanent job and a future in our schooling system," she said. (UNI)