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HCM City's primary school teachers suffer low salaries

Update: December, 15/2015 - 08:54
A teacher and students in a class at Thai My primary school in HCM City's Cu Chi District. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh

HCM CITY (VNS) — About 70 per cent of primary school teachers in HCM City find it impossible to make ends meet on their current incomes, according to a survey conducted in nine districts.

The survey, which polled nearly 1,000 primary school teachers, shows that 37 per cent of them earn VND4million (US$182) to VND6million ($272) per month. Those receiving a monthly wage of more than VND6million account for another 37 per cent. The remaining 28 percent earned less than VND4 million a month.

The survey did not specify how much the teachers would need to earn to make ends meet in HCM City.

Associate Professor Ngo Minh Oanh, director of HCM City-based Institute for Research on Educational Development, said that the wages seem more ideal than those of other provinces and cities, but still not enough. As many as 54 per cent of teachers in the city have to teach after-school classes to boost their income. The others take part-time jobs not related to their profession.

The information heated the discussion last week at a workshop on how to improve the capacities of HCM City's primary school teachers in order to meet requirements of basic and comprehensive education renewal.

According to a participant, Luxemburg takes the lead among the countries providing the highest teacher payment with $100,000 per year. Norway is ranked the tenth with an annual wage of $44,000.

Meanwhile, the staring salary of a newly-graduated teacher in Viet Nam reaches roughly VND3million ($136), which is too low compared to the world, Dr.Huynh Cong Minh, former director of HCM City's Education and Training Department said.

"It takes an education major four years to complete their curriculum, yet after graduation, their wage is lower than a security man's," he said.

The workshop participants agreed that increasing teacher pay is an urgent measure to promote teacher competence.

"If we adjust teacher wages, we can change a lot of things," Minh said.

Dr.Ho Van Hai, dean of primary education department under Sai Gon University, suggested municipal authorities compile a set of standards directing learners to select teachers and pay them a certain minimum amount of wage when teachers are qualified for standard conditions.

Associate Professor Hoang Thi Tuyet, lecturer of HCM City-based University of Education, said that the payment mechanism, which doesn't encourage teachers to wholeheartedly dedicate to their career, should be reformed.

Many teachers prove efficient but receive low wages due to a lack of seniority, she said.

She also blamed the passive role of Vietnamese teachers on their reliance on student textbooks and lesson plans.

She suggested that teachers should be motivated to express their creativity in planning lessons while agreeing to compile more open sets of textbooks rather than a focused one.

According to the municipal Department of Education and Training, the city currently has 18,922 primary school teachers, about 66 per cent of them were categorized as being excellent. — VNS

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