The government has promised to pay general education teachers in Ida-Viru County who speak Estonian 1.5 times the salary compared to other regions starting from the next academic year. While the exact regulation is still in the works, schools and local governments have a plethora of unanswered questions.
Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) has promised that qualified teachers who speak good Estonian will be paid €3,000 a month in Ida-Viru County next year. In truth, the salary will be around €2,600.
"The minimum salary of teachers has been agreed at €1,749 for next year, which we need to multiply by 1.5. That is what heads of schools will owe teachers who qualify. Schools have more freedom in terms of bonuses, the class teacher fee etc. Every principal can make their own decisions there," Lukas said.
Because the wage coefficient only affects general education teachers, this puts additional salary pressure on heads of educational institutions.
"There have been jokes that principals will take up teaching once the salary hits €3,000 a month. But the question of what will happen to everyone else working in schools and educating our children once teachers' salaries go up is a legitimate one," said Mariliis Oder, principal of the Kohtla-Nõmme school.
"There is plenty of confusion as the information reaching local governments is patchy and lacking in some cases. We know the coefficients by today, but there will be considerable wage pressure also for hobby education and kindergartens, Jõhvi Municipality Mayor Maris Toomel suggested.
Minister Lukas emphasized that local governments play an important role in processes of changing education and the state cannot be expected to handle everything.
Editor: Marcus Turovski