Last update 10/19/2010 4:51:49 PM (GMT+7)

Teachers with low pay struggle for existence

VietNamNet Bridge – Several years ago, teachers rejoiced when the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) stated that by 2010 it would set up a salary scheme which would allow teachers to live on their salaries.

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By that statement it was understood that by 2010, teachers would receive salaries high enough to cover their living expenses, while not having to take extra jobs. However, it seems that the words “living on salaries” can lead to different ways of understanding. Professor Van Nhu Cuong, a well known educator, now President of Luong The Vinh people-founded High School, said that teachers can surely “live on salaries”, but the question is “what their living standard is.”

T.M.H from Truc Ninh B High School in Nam Dinh City, who has been working as a teacher for five years, said he now earns 2.4 million dong a month. When H started this job, he was paid 1.8 million dong a month, which increased to 700,000 dong after five years.

H said that the pay is too small to cover his living expenses. When he was a single man, he could live on such a small sum of money, because he was economical. However, he is now married, so he needs more money to feed his wife and children.

H said that things seem to be cheaper in rural areas than in big cities. However, a family with a small child would need no less than 3.2 million dong a month. This does not include the expenses on healthcare or wedding parties.

At Ninh Truc B High School, 50 percent of teachers are married with children to feed. Meanwhile, most of them have the modest salaries of 2.3-3 million dong a month. With such salaries, no one dares to dream of buying houses of their own.

Nguyen Thi T, a teacher from LVT Primary School in Hoa Binh province said that after 30 years of working, her salary had been raised to 4 million dong a month. For that, he has to teach 23 hours per week. T complained that while the salaries have increased only a little, the requirements for teachers have become higher and the volume of work has doubled.

Salaries for teachers have increased, but…

According to MOET, the Government has been following the plan to increase the minimum salaries for teachers in 2006-2012. In the period from 2006 to May 2010, the minimum salary increased from 350,000 dong a month to 730,000 dong a month. As the minimum salary has increased, the monthly income of teachers has increased 2.08 times. The inflation rate in 2006-2009 was 44.6 percent, therefore, in real terms, teachers’ income has increased by 1.44 times.

For example, a teacher who graduates pedagogical school in 2010 will have the salary of 2.306 million dong a month. Meanwhile, the figure was just 1.105 million dong for a teacher graduating school in 2006.

However, it is clear that teachers’ income remains very low which cannot ensure good lives for them and their families.

According to Professor Van Nhu Cuong, a young single teacher in Hanoi has to spend more than 2 million dong a month at least, while a married teacher has to spend at least 4-5 million dong.

Cuong said that the modest salaries have forced teachers to take extra jobs to earn more money. Once teachers have to spend their time on extra jobs, they do not have time for research or to improve their teaching methods. In general, a teachers work 16-20 teaching hours at school, while they still have to mark exam papers and prepare for lessons at home. They have to work hard, but they earn modest pay, Cuong said.

Source: Dan tri