Money to increase teachers' salaries not allocated in 2021 budget

Classrooms in Estonia are currently empty as students learn online from home due to the spread of coronavirus.
Classrooms in Estonia are currently empty as students learn online from home due to the spread of coronavirus. Source: Ministry of Education and Research

Money has not been allocated to raise teachers wages in the state's 2021 budget which was agreed yesterday. Salaries will be frozen for the next four years.

The budget strategy points out that the growth of teachers' salaries in Estonia has been one of the fastest in the OECD countries and this is still the country's strategic goal.

The total budget for teachers' salaries is €1.5 billion for the next four years, which will maintain the estimated average salary of teachers at €1,540.

The state has set a goal for the average gross monthly salary of teachers in Estonia to be 120 percent of the average gross monthly salary. Last year, the average gross monthly salary of teachers was 112 percent of the average salary. While Estonia's average gross monthly salary increased by 7.4 percent, teachers increased by 7 percent. The minimum wage for teachers is currently €1,315.

Although teachers have been allocated additional money for each budget since 2014, the rapid growth of Estonia's average gross monthly salary has made it difficult to achieve the targets set.

Plans to make working as a teacher more flexible

The budget strategy says more attention needs to be paid to motivating teachers and ensuring future generations of teachers over the next four years. It is planned to renew the concept of in-service teacher training and increase the attractiveness of the profession.

There are also plans to create flexible ways for people to enter teaching.

The state plans to keep the salary of kindergarten teachers at close to 90 percent of a teacher's salary and the salary of teachers with a master's degree at the level of the minimum salary of a general education teacher.

It also plans to continue the establishment of state high schools, and by 2024, there will be 26 state high schools operating in Estonia.

To finance higher education, the budget strategy provides for a four-year budget totalling €650 million. The state also plans to reform doctoral studies to change the student grant into a junior researcher's salary and to link doctoral students to employment contracts.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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