Teachers protest against Peru’s first professor president

LIMA (AP) – Peruvian teachers protested for the first time Tuesday against the management of Pedro Castillo, the first school teacher to reach the presidency of Peru, demanding more budget for education.

The epicenter of the demonstration was in the historic center of Lima, through whose streets more than a thousand teachers marched until they reached the Congress, where they waved flags of the oldest teachers’ union and asked Castillo to fulfill his electoral promises. The protest was peaceful and only lasted a few hours. The police did not use wands or tear gas canisters.

“We are demanding that the government and Congress respect the Constitution and allocate 6% of GDP for education,” said Lucio Castro, general secretary of the Unitary Union of Peruvian Education (SUTEP). The Congress debated during the day the budget of 2022, including that of education.

Teachers affiliated with another union called the National Federation of Education Workers of Peru (FENATE) —which the current president Castillo founded in 2017— did not march and rivals SUTEP. The protesters also called for the dismissal of the Minister of Education, Carlos Gallardo, and the cancellation of an evaluation test for teachers where several responses were leaked.

The protesters also demanded improvements in their pay, exactly the same reasons that current President Castillo launched an extensive educational strike in 2017 that catapulted him onto the national political scene from his humble school in a rural area of ​​the Andes.

The teachers highlighted that Peruvian education is in crisis and that, unlike other Latin American countries, in Peru face-to-face school classes will restart in March. With official figures in hand, they recalled that 60% of public schools do not have basic services, 43% do not have access to drinking water, 21% do not have electricity and that 300,000 schoolchildren have gone from private to public schools because their parents have been ruined. with the pandemic.

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Castillo became the first president of peasant origin to become president of Peru on July 28. Before, he was a teacher leader and taught in a rural school.