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Swedish Teachers’ Breaks Turn Bitter as Coffee is Cut from Schools’ Budgets

Brew Trouble in Hörby: School Teachers Denied Their Daily Cuppa

Imagine a world where you could no longer enjoy your comforting cup of coffee during break at work? That’s the reality that teachers at Georgshillsskolan in Hörby, a Swedish town, are currently facing. Due to severe budget cuts, they are no longer being served coffee during their breaks.

Perking up the Problem

The disappearance of coffee at the school doesn’t just symbolize a loss of caffeine, it fundamentally alters the teachers’ work environment and promotes a negative image of their profession, according to Maria Westlund, Chairperson of the Teachers’ Association in Hörby.

“Such actions give the profession a bad reputation. It is seen as an unattractive vocation,” she said.

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This news comes as a surprise to the teaching staff, as for most of them, coffee breaks were more than just a chance to refuel – they were a time to socialize and collaborate, to build stronger bonds with their colleagues.

An Unjust Brew?

While some people might see brewing coffee as a minor expense in a school’s budget, taking it away has caused frustration and anger among the teachers. They believe this unusual budget cut will negatively impact the natural social hotspot of the teachers’ lounge. Mikael Persson, one of the school’s principals, however, explains that the decision is a result of shrinking school finances and essential prioritizing.

“We have a financial framework to adhere to, and we choose to prioritize core activities. Therefore, we decided to cut back on coffee,…But when making priorities, you do it where it hurts the least,” explained Persson.

The Bitter Aftertaste

According to Maria Westlund, Hörby municipality is required to save approximately 20 million SEK during 2024.

“Twenty million. It’s a massive saving requirement within the municipality, and the cost of coffee is a small drop in the ocean. They save petty cash, but it creates anger among the staff. It reduces the comfort factor and makes it a very unattractive employer,” she pointed out.

Westlund fears that this might only be the start of a string of cost-cutting measures, which could drastically affect the work environment. She also strongly believes that these cutbacks illuminate how strained economic conditions could detrimentally affect teachers’ working conditions.

Brewing Broader Impacts

One aspect Westlund highlights is the far-reaching implications these decisions can have. She insists that more funding needs to be allocated to Swedish schools.

“What is saved now will be an even bigger cost in the future. The current students will have to go through a schooling with savings, making it harder for them to succeed. I believe the cost-saving demands could affect student performance. Teaching results will be lower. This is a consequence of the savings since teachers will not have as much time with the children. They are not given the chance to offer the support and teaching the students need,” concludes Maria Westlund.

Only time will tell how this situation will percolate in the Hörby schools.

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