Portuguese teachers are not expected to return to East Timor this month
Almost all Portuguese teachers seconded to East Timor under a Portuguese-Timorese project in Timorese schools are not expected to travel to Dili on the flight scheduled for this month, according to a source from the Ministry of Education.
The source explained that at issue was the issue of payment of teachers’ tickets, under the responsibility of the Timorese Ministry of Education, whose date, for administrative reasons, Timor-Leste could not guarantee.
A “difficult” decision that was also made due to the postponement of the date originally scheduled for the flight, which went from 06 to 20 September, which implied that teachers – who would have to arrive to complete quarantine – could only return to classes in October.
The school year in East Timor ends in December, so that, considering the exam season, teachers would only have about a month of classes before, eventually, they should return to Portugal.
The Ministry of Education explained that only five coordinators from schools in Portugal will travel, ensuring that the situation “does not affect the future of the project or cooperation” with the Portuguese Government in this matter.
At stake is the situation of a group of 88 of the 138 teachers seconded to the Learning and Training Centers (CAFE) who chose to leave for Portugal on the repatriation flight in early April.
Jointly developed by the Ministries of Education of Portugal and East Timor, which share the expenses, the project focuses on the requalification of East Timorese teaching in Portuguese, in public schools in all municipalities and in the Special Administrative Region of Oecusse-Ambeno (RAEOA).
After months without being able to return, as East Timor has suspended commercial flights since March, Euro-atlântico, which had already carried out the repatriation flight in early April, showed availability to make a new connection this month.
The flight will be used mostly by Portuguese and East Timorese who need to travel both ways, including dozens of students from Timor-Leste who are in several countries (Cuba, Brazil, United Kingdom, Italy and Portugal) and want to return the House.
In the first phase, it was even considered that only about half of the teachers would come, the most necessary for the various levels of education and the various disciplines.
This option was later discarded, with the coordinators only returning to East Timor, possibly using the World Food Program (WFP) flight, on a date to be confirmed.
East Timor, which is in the fifth period of 30 days of state of emergency, currently has an active case of covid-19, with 26 patients already recovered since the start of the pandemic.
This article is available in: Português