The FINANCIAL — The pandemic has not affected teachers’ incomes in Georgia. Nothing has changed financially in schools or regarding private tutoring, and The Ministry of Education has promised teachers that their salaries will increase by GEL 100 (USD 30.77) from January 2021.
Remuneration at school is determined by the status of a teacher; whether they provide private tutoring classes; their level of experience; whether they have a Master’s degree or not. The hourly wage for teachers in public schools varies from about GEL 20 (USD 6.15) to GEL 30 (USD 9.23).
The status of a teacher in a school is defined by several factors. There are practicing teachers who are not granted status, there are senior teachers, then there is the head teacher, and finally the mentor. A practicing teacher has a full-time salary of up to GEL 400 (USD 123.08) for fifteen hour weeks, or at least thirteen. Mentor teachers have GEL 1,100 (USD 338.46) or GEL 1,200 (USD 369.23), while the income of head teachers is GEL 1,100 (USD 338.46).
When a teacher has an extra tutoring class, GEL 100 (USD 30.77) is added to the salary. “However there is so much to be done by the tutor that this supplement is actually quite low, and during the pandemic tutors have had a much harder job of organizing all these online classes and running them in real time too,” one of the respondents, Maia, told The FINANCIAL. They have been promised that the Ministry of Education will start work on eliminating all of these issues. “Teams” is a platform acquired by the Ministry of Education through which online lessons are conducted, according to the teachers.
“I am a senior teacher. I work twelve hours a week at a public school and my salary is GEL 600 (USD 184.62). Teacher positions are also divided in private schools due to different factors, according to experience, hours and also status. Teachers in private schools receive approximately GEL 800 (USD 246.15) for twelve hour weeks, but there are cases where teachers have more working hours and lower salaries. Some of them have GEL 1,400 (USD 430.77) even for thirteen-fourteen hour weeks, i.e. it depends on various factors,” said Tamuna Maisuradze, who has been a teacher for eighteen years. She teaches in both public and private schools, a Georgian-American private school and therefore works a total of twenty four hours a week.
“Online studying provides the benefit of being able to view children’s assignments individually; being able to take more time; individually view papers; respond; and have a good time doing so. But, providing technical support was, and still is, a problem during online lessons. These problems exist for both public and private schools, for example where there are four children in a family without the possibility of being in separate rooms during lessons and without enough equipment,” said Tamuna.
“Although the country has a history of economic difficulties, there is no shortage of students looking for private tuition. I have eighteen private students, but the difference is that last year and in previous years, in general, eleventh graders did not seek private tuition, however this year there has been demand from both eleventh and twelfth graders for this. This has been due to the fact that parents and children do not think there are good enough quality online lessons. They think they’re not able to receive an adequate education from this kind of learning, so some of the students have started preparing for the national exams earlier. However, there are certain subjects – for example geography, physics, chemistry, biology, etc, for which very few students are seeking extra tuition because the exams have been removed and many such subjects are no longer assessed in the national exams,” surmised Maia in an interview with The FINANCIAL.
Maia is a Georgian language teacher at #51 Public School. Officially, she works fifteen hours a week, however the workday lasts up to at least eight hours, because her work doesn’t simply end with the end of the lesson. She also has private students.
“In my opinion, distance learning is a good solution for the conditions brought about by the pandemic, however it produces both advantages and disadvantages. The downside is that there is no face-to-face interaction with the child and it is more difficult to communicate with all the students. It is more difficult to control the virtual space, although this also has a positive side, those children who had problems with communicating and were less involved in classes previously, now seem more comfortable and open,” said Maia.
Luxembourg has the highest annual starting salaries for the upper level of secondary teachers, at approximately USD 85 thousand, whereas the lowest average annual salaries for this category of teachers were recorded in Latvia, at USD 15 thousand.
Jack Ma was a teacher. So was J.K. Rowling. They probably didn’t get paid as much as teachers in Luxembourg though. There, the average lower secondary school teacher with fifteen years’ experience earned more than USD 100,000 last year. That’s more than 40% more than German teachers, who come second on the OECD’s list of teachers’ salaries. European nations dominate the top of the list, taking six of the top ten. Only South Korea, the US, Canada, and Australia break the monopoly.