Nicaraguan Teachers’ Day Amid Fewer Rights and Less Dignity

Nicaragua atraviesa por una profunda crisis educativa. Foto de archivo: Maynor Valenzuela/LA PRENSA

“We can’t say that the teachers have anything to celebrate, when our conditions are so critical.” Teachers are obligated to promote all their students, even if they can’t read or write and have missed classes.

By La Prensa

HAVANA TIMES – June 29, Teachers’ Day in Nicaragua, comes amid innumerable setbacks in the educators’ fundamental rights and in the dignity accorded to their profession. That’s the conclusion of professionals and experts in academic matters consulted by La Prensa, all of whom asked to remain anonymous for fear of being fired by the Ministry of Education, an arm of the Ortega- Murillo regime.

“The situation in the schools is touch-and-go: the lack of respect, and what can we say about the teacher who is obligated to pass their students, even if they haven’t learned to read or write and don’t come to class? They’re forced to promote those students, and many honest and ethical teachers feel bad about these impositions, but they don’t encounter any way out, except resigning,” one expert and researcher in academic issues told reporters.

A teacher  remarked to La Prensa reporters: “We can’t say that the teachers have anything to celebrate today, when our conditions are critical,” a denunciation that contradicts the official discourse.

Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s “co-president” and first lady, stated in her daily address on Wednesday, June 28, that in Nicaragua, “we celebrate the teachers; we celebrate their dedication, their devotion, forming the new Nicaraguan citizens, the talent, the intelligence, the sensitivity and the commitment to love of the homeland.”

In the same vein, she assured: “In the universe of educators in the Ministry of Education we have 78 percent women and 22 percent men. And 98 percent of the teaching personnel now have their professional titles from universities and teachers’ training schools, their higher training, many with specialties in educational sciences.

Teachers have been granted a “special bonus” of 900 cordobas (just under US $25). Photo from the Ministry of Education Facebook page.

According to posts on the Ministry of Education Facebook page, all of the teachers in Nicaragua’s public schools received a “special bonus” of 900 cordobas on their day, equivalent to just under US $25.

House arrest, firings, exile, and death

The academic researcher denounced that conditions for the teaching profession have remained basically the same since Ortega reassumed power in 2007. They’re “under military rule”, he asserted, noting that the regime calls on them “to be servile, loyal.”

As an example, he explained that many of the teachers in different schools “are fired” if they object to “going down the streets with FSLN flags.” In a country where poverty reigns for the majority, they’re forced to “remain submissive to a regime that mistreats them psychologically, verbally, and especially economically, which has been their historic mistreatment in the country.”

The teachers in his locality lament that the old saying: “the teachers are your second parents,” has been lost, in terms of the treatment afforded them by the students. “All the respect which dignified us as teachers has disappeared in all senses: respect from the government authorities, the Ministry, and even from the students themselves,” echoed a teacher, who also asked to withhold her name for fear of losing her job.

Meanwhile, the specialist assured that according to denunciations received by the parents of students from those regions, at least three teachers are currently being held under house arrest, in the Caribbean region and in Matagalpa.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, so many teachers ended up dying, due to the regime’s failure to understand the magnitude of the danger that contagion represented at that time. They allowed the teachers to go home sick, then continue giving classes. In other words, wherever we look, the teachers have always been wronged. For that reason, many say there’s nothing to celebrate, that the teaching profession is nothing more than obeying the orders issued by the regime,” the educational specialist stated.

The educators recalled that there are dozens of colleagues who at one time or another were fired, plus others who have been forced by the regime’s persecution to go into exile, where they also face difficulties – in this case, those of being in a country not your own. “It’s a depressing situation – some fired, others in exile, and many forced to simply submit,” the teacher denounced.

The researcher mentioned yet another group of educators who “resign because of the repression exercised by certain parents who are allied with the regime; and let’s not even talk about the delegates from the Ministry of Education in every department. For example, there are teachers who are transferred to posts far from their homes in order to make them resign, or they invent faults, mostly for political reasons. In other instances, they get them involved in delicate situations in order to fire them.”


The teachers also complained that what the Ministry does when someone is fired or a professional resigns is: “to replace them with young people allied with the regime, because they prefer to prioritize the political indoctrination that’s given in the schools. That’s very dangerous, because the children grow with that mentality, and when they allow them not to give exams but to promote everyone, because no student can be held back, this sends education into the ground.”

One parent, whose children attend the “Pedro Joaquin Chamorro” school in the Monte Fresco neighborhood of Managua denounced the very poor physical conditions in which the teachers give their classes.

“The teachers don’t have desks, and we’re now halfway through the school year and they’re going to go on their semester break. There’s a lot of negligence around this – the students have no desks, the teachers have no desks, they must use a child’s chair. The notebooks get damaged, but they don’t have any, and another problem is that there’s no potable water to drink or to clean with,” the parent expressed.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.