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School teachers deserve a pay raise: professor

Update: March, 21/2018 - 09:00
Đào Trọng Thi. — Photo

Professor Đào Trọng Thi, former Chairman of the National Assembly Commission for Culture, Education, Youth and Children speaks to Lao Đông (Labour) newspaper  on the need to give a pay rise to school teachers.

How do you respond to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance rejecting the proposal to give teachers higher salaries than other public servants in the draft amendment of the Law on Education?

The rejection went against a Party resolution. The idea to give high salaries to teachers has been discussed for more than 20 years. The Resolution of the 2nd Plenary Conference of the 8th Party Central Committee in 1996 acknowledged that teachers played an essential role in our education quality and that they had been highly acknowledged by society. As a result, their salary should be placed on the top of the salary rankings for public servants.

Such a concept has been reflected in all Party documents. In Resolution No 29 of the Party Central Committee in 2013, it was again reiterated that the Party supports putting teachers on top of the salary rankings for public servants. In addition, it said they should enjoy salary supplements in special cases.

It is undeniable that the Party’s Resolution is a guideline and plan for the Government to put into reality. But it needs time to implement. But, it has been more than 20 years and the Party’s guideline remains on paper.

Between the constraint in finances versus real life demand, how should we solve this problem?

We live in a society ruled by law. It is high time to turn the law into life. In my understanding there is a proposal to exempt tuition fees for secondary school students. If such a proposal and the decision to pay higher salary to school teachers pass they will improve the educational sector. And if, due to the financial constraints, we can’t do both things at the same time we should come up with a roadmap to implement them.

If we have to select one of the two policies, in my opinion, we should prioritise increasing teachers’ salary as they lead in carrying out the country’s educational reform.

But, it is undeniable that if we decide to raise the teachers’ salary, the salary segment for teachers will become a very big share in our State budget. Many people agree teachers deserve higher pay. When the ‘pie’ remains the same and a bigger share goes to the teachers that means the remaining portion will become smaller for other workers, will they agree with such a proposal? This is an issue.

In our current salary system, the salary scales for public employees are the same. However, teachers’ total income is the lowest among public employees as they don’t have additional allowances like people working in other jobs.

However, I’m still for the salary increase for teachers. That’s why we should set a roadmap for the increase of salary for teachers. And of course, to do that, the Party Resolutions are the guidelines and it is the National Assembly deputies’ mission to turn these Resolutions into law. — VNS

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