Kazakhstan to give teachers up to 30-percent pay hike

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan plans to boost salaries for education system workers from 10-30 percent starting in June in conjunction with the new system of coefficients to be launched that month, said Kazakh Minister of Education Kulyash Shamshidinova at an April 15 press conference.

Minister of Education Kulyash Shamshidinova. Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

The new set of coefficients for calculating salaries applies to state workers, including those in education. The system will take into account the teacher’s education level, qualifications and working conditions.

“Seventy-five percent of funds meant for an increase in salaries for state workers will go to the education system,” said Shamshidinova.

The raises are part of the country’s efforts to improve its education system and will be implemented in line with former President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s instructions to increase salaries for state workers and in line with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s instructions to bring forward the date for the increase by one month, from July 1 to June 1.

In the next three years, the country will allocate 378 billion tenge (US$996.2 million) to increase salaries, including 67 billion tenge (US$176.5 million) in 2018.

Nearly 70 percent of teachers, or 208,000, have received a 30-percent increase since 2018 for switching to an updated education programme. Sixty thousand have received a 30-50 percent raise for passing national qualification tests administered in May and November.

“In the upcoming three yeas, 144,000 teachers will pass qualification tests to teach an updated education programme, 82,000 psychologists, 15,000 engineer and pedagogical college workers and 2,400 university professors,” said Shamshidinova.

Teachers can access support material at smk.edu.kz that includes more than 120,000 references. The ministry will continue to integrate STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math) learning, IT skills, projects and research in school curriculum, she noted.

Shamshidinova also briefed the gathering on the ministry’s efforts to support teachers who are learning English. Educators are taking English language courses and starting next year, teaching English will be a responsibility for Kazakh universities.

“Of 14,000 teachers of chemistry, biology, IT and physics, 11,000 have completed English language courses. The course that started in 2019, we could not stop it now,” she said.

“Those teachers that completed three-month courses have taken additional six-month courses. We revised this issue and starting in 2020, the funds [US$10.5 million] that were initially meant to improve teachers’ qualifications in English will be directed to other education goals and training of specialists in pedagogical universities so that they come already prepared,” she added.

The ministry also seeks to encourage student volunteer efforts. Incentives include providing 25,000 tenge (US$65.89) vouchers and a two-credit retake for 25 volunteer hours and 50,000 tenge (US$131.70) and a five-credit retake for 50 hours.

The ministry identified several volunteer areas such as helping kids with special learning needs, tutoring, working with minors demonstrating deviant behaviour and social help for the elderly.