The words educación dual may seem harmless, but they are enough to ignite the fire in the eyes of many public school educators. That is why they plan a strike today.
Educación dual is a system where students work part time in an industry of their choice and spend the rest of the school day in class. The concept is called cooperative education in the United States.
In Costa Rica now there are legal and financial restrictions for businesses that want to participate in such a program. They are the labor laws that demand a certain salary level as well as social charges, vacation and various leaves. The current situation provides little incentive for private firms to participate.
The legislature has two bills that might make some adjustments to allow the payment of lower salaries to unskilled students.
The Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados, which consists of high school teachers, organized the strike for today. Additional support is coming from the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense and other unions, including a token delegation from the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados.
Lower salaries for school children might be the specific reason for the strike today, but public employees are concerned at legislative plans to slash their salaries.
Bloque Unitario Sindical says the merchant class is out to denigrate the noble labor done by public employees.
School teachers staged a preview of their strike Tuesday with a protest with signs at the legislature.
Expats with children might want to check today to see if public schools are functioning.