AUSTRALIA’s schools are on the brink of closure amid a massive student strike in NSW.
A group of students have been staging sit-ins at schools across the state, while teachers are calling on teachers to be on the streets to support their students.
Key points:The strike is the biggest in Australian historyThousands of NSW teachers are due to walk out on FridayThe NSW Teachers Union has said the strike is a “wake-up call” for all of usThe NSW Government has said it has made progress on dealing with the crisis and it will consider all optionsIt comes after students from Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory walked out last week after teachers refused to meet with them.
The strike was triggered by a strike on May 5, when thousands of teachers walked off the job over the dismissal of a senior teacher.NSW Education Minister Peter Slipper said the students and staff involved in the strike have the right to strike, but the government is making progress in addressing the crisis.
“We have made progress with the issue and are continuing to work with the teachers unions on ways to get things back on track,” Mr Slipper told 7.30.
“It is a wake-up message to all of the teachers across Australia and to the public that there is a lot more work to do.”
But in the run-up to the strike, teachers across the country are rallying to protect their schools.
In Victoria, hundreds of teachers have marched to the state capital, Melbourne, to call on their colleagues to join them in the protest.
“The Victorian Teachers’ Union has been in negotiations with our government and with the NSW Government, to get back to normalcy,” Victoria’s Education Minister, Chris Evans, told 7:30.
The NSW Education Minister said he was confident the Government was “committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our students”.
“Our schools are safe, and the government will continue to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our students,” Mr Evans said.
“However, we know that our schools are in serious financial difficulties, and we need to be working together with the unions to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”
The Victorian Government has also announced it will be providing $200,000 to support teachers and staff affected by the strike.
A NSW Government spokesman said it was providing an additional $150,000.
Mr Evans said the Government would be “doing everything we possibly can” to support the teachers involved in this strike, saying he was “confident” that the Government’s support would help resolve the crisis within a few weeks.
“Our priority is to support our teachers who have been put at great risk,” he said.
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