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Russia: “Performance pay makes teachers feel insecure”

published 24 September 2015 updated 30 September 2015

In Russia teacher evaluation procedures and performance pay are creating unrest within the profession. The Russian education union has raised its concern with public authorities at regional, district and municipal levels throughout the country.

"Thirty percent of a teachers' salary is performance based and determined at school level. Only seventy percent of their monthly pay is guaranteed. This makes teachers feel insecure, particularly because there are no satisfactory criteria established for evaluating their performance." Galina Merkulova, President of the Russian education union ESEUR, explains that teachers evaluation procedures, which have created unrest within the profession, are subject of ongoing discussions with the public authorities.

On 22 September, the ESEUR Executive Board met in Essentuky, a city in the Northern Caucasus and part of the Stavropol Region, one of the union's 80 regional structures. Laura Manayeva, President of the regional organisation, emphasized that her organisation is making a maximum effort to foster social dialogue with the authorities at the regional, district and municipal levels. "It is not easy. In the past five years we had five education ministers, and every time we felt that we had to start from scratch. What complicates matters is that it is not the education minister but the minister of finance who is playing a dominating role in our regional government", she says. Manayeva also notes that current education budget levels fail to meet the sector's need to ensure quality education. She also showed concern about young teachers leaving the profession after a few years. "It is their increasing workload, particularly administrative duties, that make them give up and leave."

In most regions ESEUR has set up Young Teachers' Councils, which guide the unions work in catering for the needs of their young members. Laura Manayeva says that there is a remarkable difference between the older and younger generations of union members. "Young teachers expect us to help them become better teachers and provide them with more opportunities for professional development. They seem to be less concerned about pay and pension issues which cause a lot of concern among their older colleagues.”

The Russian education union is EI's largest member union in Europe. It represents some 4.5 million teachers, education support staff and students.