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Teachers to face another 1% Pay Cap


It has just been announced that teachers will have their pay capped to a 1% rise this year. Given that (as of April 2017) inflation stands at 2.6%, this of course amounts to a pay cut. Austerity certainly shows no signs of abating.

This continues the seven year pay cap teachers, along with other public sector workers, have been forced to endure. Teresa May has been openly accused of insulting teachers with this announcement, which is a real-term pay cut for more than 500,000 teachers across England and Wales.

The pay cap has been in place since 2010, when austerity measures were introduced. Initially the figure stood at 0%, but while the figure remains below that of inflation any increases will be unlikely to elicit widespread appreciation.

The National Union of Teachers have criticised the announcement, saying that the attritional effect of austerity measures have led to teachers enduring a 13% pay cut over recent years. Kevin Courtney, the union`s leader said that the last 7 years have meant `austerity for some.`

Teaching has never been classified as a lucrative profession - not in this country at least. It would be trite and jejune to say that in a better world this profession would provide more recompense for those who practice it. Perhaps, as a nation, we have never given the career of teaching the respect it deserves though. At the turn of the 20th century the great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote the famous lines `He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.` A hugely successful advertising campaign at the turn of the millennium (a century after the condescending original was penned) used an altered, ablated form: `those who can, teach.`

Other countries provide far more recompense for the noble profession of teaching. Data released by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) last year shows that the starting salary in Luxembourg for a high school teacher with no experience is ; $73,000. This astonishing figure can rise quickly too, peaking at $131,000 for veteran teachers.

Ten Best countries for teachers` Salaries

Annual salary in thousands of USD

Ten Worst countries for teachers` Salaries

Annual salary in thousands of USD

As the OECD data reveals, not only is there huge variance in the salaries of teachers across the world, there is also great disparity in their potential for increase over time. In Germany for example, the starting salary for a teacher is not much less than what they can expect at their end of their career - $46,000 is the initial figure, rising up to $60,000.

In south Korea the contrast of pay between new teachers, and veterans, is far more pronounced. $22,000 is the entry level salary, which rises to $34,000 after ten years. After this the increases are regular, and peak at $62,000.

In Luxembourg though, teachers can enjoy a wage right from the outset that exceeds the highest fee paid to teachers in other countries, whatever the stage of their career! Perhaps this fact should not be promulgated - already doctors and surgeons are defecting from this country, seeking careers in more salubrious climates. If our teachers learn about the glittering career prospects that are just a few hundred miles and a minor language barrier away, we may have some empty classrooms next September.

17 months ago
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