NUR-SULTAN – Teachers’ pay will be raised twofold, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced at the August teacher conference. Educators will no longer need to go to school on Saturdays, which they were required to do despite the new five-day system. Tokayev also forbade akimats (city governments) from involving educational institution employees in their events.
“Despite the declared increase in teachers’ salaries today, many surcharges are deducted from their base salary. Therefore, 500,000 teachers in the country will not feel any significant increase. We must make that clear. Moreover, teachers’ wages make up only 65 percent of the country’s average wage. We will not put up with this. Therefore, I entrust the government to attract qualified workers to the education system and to raise the status of teachers and thus to double their salaries within four years,” he said, as reported by Tengrinews.kz.
According to one of the teachers at the conference, a kindergarten teacher receives 76,000 tenge a month (US$195) and an assistant, 67,000 (US$173); taking into account all possible reimbursements, a young educational worker can expect a maximum of 94,000 tenge (US$242). By contrast, a university student earns 150,000 tenge (US$387) as a regular café waitperson while completing his/her studies, said the teacher.
Tokayev noted enacting the teacher status law will lead to significant changes, and the government will be charged with ensuring all accepted standards are executed in a practical manner.
“It is important to implement a real increase in the status of a teacher. Everything we are talking about now directly depends on the teachers. To increase the competitiveness of the nation, we need our teachers to achieve a high status. The bill ‘On the status of a teacher’ provides comprehensive support measures, such as the reduction of a teacher’s burden, the guarantee of protection of honour and dignity and material provision. The most important measures are doubling the payment for classroom management and checking notebooks, increasing the period of leave for all teachers up to 56 days, renumerating for a master’s degree and others,” he said.
“The vicious practice of local akimats often abusing their powers, using teachers for administrative purposes and various kinds of events that have nothing to do with the education system, is not ceasing. I have instructed the government to take urgent and drastic measures,” he added.
According to the legislative amendments and additions introduced June 13 regarding teacher status and reducing student and teacher workload, a fine will be charged for taking advantage of teachers and forcing them to complete work not related to their professional duties.
“Obviously, a teacher should not be loaded with unrelated work; he/she should work with children, not papers. The teacher should not work for someone solving akimat problems. The task of the ministry is to fully give the teachers this opportunity. The ministry is paying attention to this, which is very good,” said one of the teachers at the conference.
Tokayev also instructed the Ministry of Education and Science to develop and launch special programmes to overcome the academic gap of children from low-income families and schools in socially troubled areas that display poor results. There should be no difference in education between urban and rural children, and he noted it is vital to overcome any educational inequality.
“Regional akims (governors) should fundamentally deal with this issue. It is their direct responsibility to create all the necessary conditions for children in the country. What quality of education can we expect when one teacher is forced to teach several subjects in the majority of small schools in rural areas? I instruct the regional akims to provide grants to attract the best managers and teachers to schools in the regions,” he said.
Earlier this year, Tokayev also called for radically strengthening the quality of pre-school education and the need to revise the pay scale for early education teachers and kindergarten aides.