Educators’ salary model must be improved

21 march 2017

“Within the Russian National Meeting of Educators, the Government instructed to involve wider public to solve education problems,” said Ms. Inna Karakchieva, the Analytical Centre expert, opening the round table “Mechanisms to Improve Salary System for Employees of General Educational Organizations”. “One of such problems is the salary of educators, where the calculation methodology needs improvements.”

Discussing opportunities for improving the current situation, when financial support to educators becomes worse, the experts noted that the research of the Federal Statistics Service did not reflect the state of affairs and the average salary was actually lower than the values shown by the Federal Statistics Service. Besides, the experts agreed that the incentive salary model failed and did not serve as an incentive to improve the quality of teaching, first of all, due to non-transparency of accruals.

Ms. Irina Abankina, Director of the Education Development Institute, Research University of the Higher School of Economics, confirmed that higher salaries of educators did not change the place of the education system among other branches and improve the prestige of this profession. Moreover, the buying capacity of educators’ salaries turned out to be lower in 2016 versus 2013.

“When planning budget expenses, requirements of the State Educational Standard are not taken into consideration to the fullest extent and this causes noticeable distortions in salary,” said Ms. Abankina and offered her vision of criteria for planning the budget per one student.

The Lifelong Education Economy Centre of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration presented its monitoring of the situation with salaries in the education area which showed that the dissatisfaction of teachers with their salaries increased dramatically in 2016 and many were forced to work at a second job. The knowledge level of intending teachers is poor, which is also a problem, and these two problems are interrelated. The lowest salary rates are in schools of federal subordination, a little bit higher - in schools of regional subordination, and the highest ones - in municipal educational institutions.

“The issue of teachers’ salaries is to a certain extent the issue relating to economic development of the region,” thinks Ms. Tatiana Klyachko, Director of the Centre. “If the country’s economy is in a difficult situation, it transfers such difficulty to all of us and the situation is unlikely to change until it begins to “breathe”. The only question is to what extent we manage to maintain the salary rates at a more or less acceptable level.”

Mr. Alexander Adamsky, Scientific Director of Eureke Institute of Educational Policy Issues, is even more categorical: in his opinion, the institutional misbalance inside the education system has reached critical values, while the salary system per se does not currently exist at all, as the incentive model has “gone dead”. “I support the fixed salary model that allows paying for functionality rather than for worked hours,”, said Mr. Adamsky. “Of course, this is an innovative moment, but I think that we are to go in this direction.”

“We understand how the federal authorities, including those responsible for distribution of resources, are unready for radical solutions,” stated Ms. Tatiana Kupriyanova, Deputy Chairwoman of the Russian National Trade Union of Public Education and Science Employees. “Incentive payments have failed and the fixed salary system requires a double increase in financing and the number of teachers. If we leave the existing salary system, this requires a significant increase of the fixed part in the salary structure.” Ms. Kupriyanova introduced the draft regulations on educators’ salary system developed by the Trade Union and intended to streamline the situation in this area to participants of the round table for consideration.