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Teachers’ Union Reluctant About Literacy Campaign

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 18 July, 2011

(Chilpancingo, JG 18 July) The literacy campaign announced by Governor Aguirre, to teach reading and writing to 50,000 illiterate adults in Guerrero by year’s end has received a luke warm reaction by the state teachers’ union (CETEG). It is estimated that over 374,000 persons over age 15 in the state are unable to read and write.

Gonzalo Juárez Ocampo, the union’s president, thinks that the goal is unrealistic, that the program is too vague, and that the initiative is not well organized. It might be noted casually that the program also contemplates using non-union personnel to impart the program, known as “Guerreros for Literacy.” When the governor announced the initiative on May 30, he mentioned the teachers’ union as one of the collaborators. The union, however, is “reserving judgment” until more details are available. Their initial judgment is that they prefer a different program, called “Yes I Can,” developed in Cuba, which some of the union leadership are trying to implement in the poorest mountain communities, where Spanish is barely spoken, and always as a second language.

The CETEG has a sharply adversarial attitude towards the State Department of Education, periodically blocking highways and street in Chilpancingo and Acapulco to demand more concessions. Many are outlandish by US standards, dealing with guaranteed (even inheritable) positions, a year-end bonus equal to 25% of annual salary, and increases in pension benefits. For its part, , the Department of Education has had its own issues, including the alleged plundering of its budget of millions of pesos during the previous administrations, mainly through ghost workers on the payroll and public contracts in which goods and services were paid for, but not delivered. Meanwhile, Guerrero lags behind all but two other states in the quality and level of public education.