Teachers camping to cut accommodation costs


Teachers camping to cut accommodation costs

As the school term begins the Algarve, there have been reports of teachers resorting to living in tents due to the high cost of accommodation in the region.


With no alternatives, some choose to stay in campsites, others in hostels and hotels. A problem that "has been getting worse because of the volume of tourism in the area", which is also "increasingly less seasonal", said the president of the Southern Democratic Teachers Union (SDP South), Josefa Lopes to Diário de Notícias (DN).

A little research on the internet is all it takes to realise how difficult it can be to find a house in the Algarve that is not intended for couples or families on holiday. If, by chance, even a longer-term lease notice comes up, many properties for rent are only from October (already one month after school starts) to May (still two months from the end of the teachers working season).

According to DN the SDP Sul teaching leader admits that the lack of alternatives can even lead some in Algarve schools to drop out of teaching. "Because they have families and the conditions offered to them, are not at all reasonable to take one or more children with them".

DN highlights the case of Susana Ferreira, 42, who talked to DN, and for whom every beginning of the school year is unknown. "Every August I think about giving up," she says. The Braga-based kindergarten teacher will have to teach for the second year in a row at a school in the Algarve. Last year in Albufeira. This year in Loulé.

Less than a week from the first day of work, Susana continues to apply for houses in the Algarve. Most of the answers have been negative. And when an available house or room comes up, the rent is not possible when based on her salary. "I just called a T2 landlord who asked for 600 Euros. But this is more than half of my salary," she says in the article from DN.

"I will not spend 500 Euros a week. We do not earn to pay this. Even in a bungalow on a campsite it is difficult to stay, because they are expensive," she says. As early as July of this year, she tried to secure a house for September, although she could only move from the second half of the month. So she considers bringing a tent to a campsite until the 15th.

She knows of colleagues who had to resort to campsites until the peak season ended in mid-September. But the life span of tourism in the area is no longer as predictable as it once was. "Those who accept to stay in this situation (in campsites) think that the situation will be transitory. Maybe it is, but our tourism is becoming less seasonal," says unionist Josefa Lopes to DN. And what would be a temporary alternative can even become a permanent situation.

"I lost all the savings I earned in my life," says Professor Estela Fonseca to Diário de Notícias. By this time, two years ago, Professor of Philosophy Estela Fonseca had just learned that she had been placed for the first time away from home: in Faro. The Ministry of Education published the placement list a month before classes started, that year thousands of teachers only knew their fate within a week of their first day of work.


Even worse was the "surreal proposals" she encountered. A room in Toledo, Faro, at 300 Euros, with two bunk beds side by side for four people. Also a studio in the centre of Faro, next to the school where he was going to teach, which was after all "a tiny room on the 13th floor, with a bed where the white sheets were grey and the available bathroom was very dirty" At 350 Euros.

According to DN she would eventually rent a T1 in Olhão, which she shared with a co-worker. One slept in the living room, the other in the bedroom. But "I had to come back every 15 days because my parents were very sick" and she had two children, at the time college students. "I lost all the savings I made in my life," she laments. With the aggravation of being "unable to declare this expense". "Because we have no receipt, and if we demand it, the landlord will raise the price," she says.


Already João Dias da Silva, secretary general of the National Federation of Education (FNE), believes that the problem has to be solved with a background analysis to all Portuguese schools. "The problem that we have here, which is systematically unresolved, is that we have a teacher placement system that creates this need for permanent teacher travel. The resolution requires the Ministry of Education to predict the need for the various schools, giving them the number of teachers they need for their regular functioning," he says to DN.