Education and literacy is an important requirement in the world today that reflect the condition of the society and it also gives an indication of the development of nations and states. The development of human resources in any nation is dependent on the education levels and the higher education of labor resources, greater is the productivity of the nation. At the same time the advancement of society also depend on education. The question that comes to mind immediately is who is responsible for the determination of education and literacy levels in a society? Some may point it out that policies and strategies of the government are important in shaping the future of a nation through education reforms at all levels.
Many believe that government policies towards education in a country are solely responsible for the level of education. However, regardless of the level of education or the institutional complexities, one fact that is agreed by all is that teachers are responsible for building the very foundation of education. The base for shaping up the cognitive abilities of individuals for learning is dependent on teachers. This happens at a very grass-root level, from primary education itself.
Hence, it is imperative to analyze the needs and requirements of millions of professionals employed in different institutions as teachers. The real question that arises is that are the individuals in teaching profession being justly rewarded for their contribution to society and the development of the nation? Even if so, is it justified to feel contempt with the existent policies and strategies of compensation when the expectation from teachers to be abreast of the global developments is increasing day by day?
It is strongly felt that there needs to be an increase in remuneration given to teachers due to many reasons. Among these, the two most important being the role they play in development of society, and the fact that changing situations have made the profession all the more challenging for such individuals.
CURRENT SCENARIO AND NEED FOR HIGHER REMUNERATION
In the discussion about teachers’ remuneration, two important factors need to be highlighted. One is the fact that in almost all primary and secondary educational institutions across the nation, the average remuneration paid to teachers is often lower than that of other professions. The other is the fact that the average working hours in many cases is higher than that of other professions. Combined with these two aspects is the fact that a teachers’ profession is also very demanding as the same needs constant supervision and interaction with hundreds of hundreds of individuals on a daily basis.
On an average, the starting annual salary of a teacher in the USA is around $30, 000 for primary levels which is considered to be among the lowest paying jobs in the country . Even educational qualification or job performance is not taken into account in case of most organizations when it comes to promotions and increments. The trend followed in the education industry is quite old which is to recommend teaching staff in an institution for promotions or increments based on the number of years spent with the organization.
Teaching staff with a higher tenure at the institution are considered first for job promotions while ones with comparatively fewer years of service with the institution are expected to wait their turn. Remuneration paid to teachers is also indifferent to the educational qualifications possessed by candidates. It is a trend in the industry to keep the entry level remunerations the same for all candidates. What this effectively means is that two candidates, with different levels of qualifications would be expected to be paid the same remuneration on selection for providing his or her services to the institution. This is an important factor aspect that needs to be addressed urgently as in many cases; educated and qualified individuals prefer other job opportunities due to the remuneration disparity as compared to other professions. On the other hand, requirements for educational qualifications for employment have become anything but liberal over the years and the same trend is expected to continue. Organizations and industry demands more and more qualified workforce for the various job profiles . If the current situation is not changed, the future is expected to be challenging as far as employment is concerned.
So now, the question that we should be asking one another is it really sensible to continue with the existing situation where teachers’ remunerations are low as compared to other jobs in the industry? Is it justified to overlook the urgency that exists in one of the most important and demanding professions in the industry? The answer is bound to be a resonant ‘ no’. This brings us to the predicament of finding a solution to this prominent problem. The answer lies in reviewing industry standards of remuneration prevalent. At the entry levels, the compensation structures need to be increased and ideally should compensate for the qualifications of the candidates. While within institutions, it is important to review the policies of promotion which needs to make accommodations for performing staff. Even if promotions are kept in accordance to the existing basis of seniority in the organization, introduction of measures such as performance evaluation and performance based incentives will help in boosting the confidence and motivation levels of the employees in a major way.
The motive of this presentation was to highlight the need of increasing teachers’ remuneration. There will be many ideas as to why it is necessary and what can be done. However, in this presentation the very basic facts have been highlighted and it has been seen how aspects such as remuneration, education and development of society are inter-related. It needs to be understood that prevalence of the existing conditions will lead to deterioration in the quality of education provided in the future. As employment and development of society is based on education, steps need to be taken now. The same which have been highlighted are very basic and the same do not effectively call for changes in legislation or government policies. For example, increasing the entry level remunerations and changing the policies of promotion and incentives can be brought about in any institution. Once it becomes a part of the industry, the same will become a regular industry characteristic, which will help in improving education. The changes can be brought about gradually, if the will is present. Given the situation at hand, it can be anticipated that the changes will take place.
Mabogoane, T. and Patel, F. “ Recognising behaviour that increases learning: the possible role of incentives in the teaching profession.” Perspectives in Education 24. 2 (2011): 127-139.
Menezes-Filho, N. and Pazello, E. “ Do teachers’ wages matter for proficiency? Evidence from a funding reform in Brazil.” Economics of Education Review 26 (2009): 660-672.
Odden, A. R. and Kelly, J. A. Consortium for Policy Research in Education. 21 September 2008. online. 18 November 2014.