On Wednesday thousands of schoolteachers blocked bridges in six major cities in Honduras (including our town of La Ceiba). The blockades were meant to disrupt traffic and the lives of millions of people in order to draw attention to the teachers’ protests of the Honduran government.
The schoolteachers have been on strike, and classes have been canceled, for three weeks. The striking teachers are opposed to a new law that would give parents input at public schools. The teachers are also seeking higher wages. However, studies show that while the education quality of Honduran students is below average in Latin America, teacher’s salaries are above average.
Honduran law requires teachers to teach 200 days of class per year. In the last 12 years teachers have taught between 86 and 163 days in a year, but have NEVER come close to the mandated 200 days of instruction. Teachers are too busy protesting the government and blocking traffic to teach the children, and it is the children who suffer.
Honduras is in a dire situation. Forty percent of the country is illiterate. Only 43% of children enrolled in public schools complete elementary school. Only 30% of the kids attend high school, and only 8% of Hondurans attend college.
The Honduran President has stated that if the teachers do not return to their classes they will be fired next week. Children are not receiving education, traffic is at a standstill, commerce is disrupted and millions of people are inconvenienced. The bottom line is that 2.3 million public school students are not receiving education.