Teach­ers in line for a pay rise

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTOO THAT thanhtoo@mm­times.com

A PAY rise is on the hori­zon for ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers, says a Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cial, but just when this is likely to take ef­fect is not yet clear.

U Aung Than Oo, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the De­part­ment of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion, made the an­nounce­ment yes­ter­day dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion’s ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the new gov­ern­ment’s first 100 days in of­fice.

“We have plans to raise their salaries, but we can’t say the ex­act date,” he said. He added that size of the raise will “de­pend on the [ed­u­ca­tion] bud­get al­lo­ca­tion”. Salaries for teach­ers are cur­rently K155,000 per month for primary school teach­ers, K165,000 for mid­dle school and K175,000 for high school.

The ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment has more than 400,000 staff in­clud­ing 370,000 teach­ers.

The head­mas­ter at a primary school in Py­in­mana town­ship told The Myan­mar Times on con­di­tion of anonymity that a salary raise was un­likely to be sub­stan­tial enough to pro­vide any mean­ing­ful ben­e­fit to in­di­vid­ual teach­ers, and could even drive in­fla­tion. “I think the raise would be an in­signif­i­cant amount. But com­mod­ity prices [could] in­crease be­cause of that news. Prices in­creased a few days ago when the news come out that the salary of teach­ers will be in­creased. So I’d like to re­quest to try to lower [the cost of essen­tial goods],” he said.

State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in­di­cated at a con­fer­ence in May that teach­ers should be bet­ter com­pen­sated. The Min­istry of Plan­ning and Fi­nance said that K7.5 bil­lion (US$6.3 mil­lion) of com­mer­cial taxes col­lected from phone call fees is given to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

De­spite a lack of clar­ity about the size of the raise ex­pected and the time­frame in which it is to be im­ple­mented, Pyithu Hlut­taw MP U Hla Moe (NLD; Aung Myay Tharzan) wel­comed the an­nounce­ment, say­ing he was glad the gov­ern­ment recog­nised ed­u­ca­tion as a pri­or­ity. “It is a good case. What­ever pol­icy is set, our ed­u­ca­tion will be noth­ing if the salary, ca­pac­ity and pres­tige of teach­ers are not raised,” he said.

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

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