During a discussion with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in August this year, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Arayik Harutyunyan announced, that, most likely by 2020, starting January 1, there will be no teacher paid below 108,000 AMD. On September 1 the salaries of teachers did increase by 10%. Arayik Harutyunyan has already announced in autumn that the minimum rate will be 108,000 AMD, and on October 31, the government made the relevant decision. This does not mean, however, that all teachers will receive a minimum salary of 108,000 AMD.
The Fact Investigation Platform has studied the mechanisms and regularities of teacher remuneration.
How many teachers will receive a minimum salary of 108,000 AMD?
The remuneration system for teachers and educators in general differs from other areas. Teachers’ salaries are calculated by rate, and schools are funded by the number of students. Each school itself determines the amount of its teachers’ remuneration based on the minimum wage set. Thus, the teachers who have 22 hours of lessons weekly, are paid for full-time work. We will discuss this in more detail later.
Thus, according to the Ministry of Education and Science, there are currently 31,371 teachers enrolled in general education institutions in the republic. The number of school administrative and support staff is 3305. But only 11800 of the teachers work full time. Consequently, the minimum salary of 108,000 AMD will be paid to the 38% of the registered teachers. Raise in rates naturally assumes that other teachers’ salaries will also increase to some extent, however, the 108,000 AMD, mentioned by the minister, will probably be given only to teachers enrolled in schools with large numbers of pupils.
Teacher salary calculation mechanism
The budget of the general educational institutions of the Republic, including the sums allocated for the remuneration, are approved within one month after the adoption of the state budget by a joint decision of the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Finance. The teacher’s salary rate, after a 10% increase per lesson, ranges from 4576-12,100 AMD (previously 4160-11,000 AMD). For a full-time enrollment, for 22 hours of lessons, the teacher’s salary can range from 100,000 to 266,000 AMD.
Thus, according to the draft, the government has allocated about 1.7 billion AMD to increase the rates by 10%. It should be also taken into consideration that the number of lesson hours and, therefore, teachers’ salaries are formed at schools, and schools are financed according to the number of students. Therefore, depending on the funding of a particular school, the amount of remuneration for teachers who have the same amount of lesson hours in different schools may also vary. Thus, almost all schools in the country have their own pay calculations, so it is not possible to accurately calculate the amount of salaries teachers receive. It should be noted that the difference in salary is related to teachers’ qualifications and length of service. Accordingly, two qualification procedures are defined. To receive qualification, specialists receive appropriate training. Earlier this year, Arayik Harutyunyan said that a new system was planned to be introduced, and the salaries of teachers undergoing special training will increase by 50 percent.
By setting the minimum threshold of 108,000 AMD, the government has actually raised the average salary of teachers by another 8 percent.
By the way, both raise cycles in salaries were only for teachers working in secondary schools. The salaries of administrative and support staff have not increased.
It is noteworthy that former Minister of Education and Science Levon Mkrtchyan also spoke about the change of the school funding system. In 2017, it was discussed to make teachers’ minimum salaries 110,000 AMD. The new financing system was planned to be implemented starting from 2019.
How are schools funded according to the number of students?
According to the student number funding formula, in 2018 per student 124,000 AMD was allocated per year, which could be multiplied by certain coefficients, depending on the classroom, school location or other conditions. For elementary school students, for example, the coefficient was 0.8.
To calculate the school’s annual budget, this number is multiplied by the total number of students, is added to the number of workdays, the amount of the money allocated for the school meals for elementary school students and to the amount provided to compensate for textbook fees for children from underprivileged families.
Schools are also provided with a minimum facility maintenance amount: for schools with up to 100 students – 19 million AMD, which also includes non-teaching staff salaries. For secondary education institutions with up to 300 students and 301 or more students, this amount consists of two parts: maintenance costs – about 3 million AMD and annual fund for the non-teaching staff salaries.
The 2020 formula set out to provide funding for underfunded schools not only by number of students, but also by number of classes. Thus, if the density of one classroom is less than half the maximum permissible threshold, schools will be financed by classes.
Thus, the complexity of the teacher remuneration mechanisms for 2019 will not allow it to clarify precisely how many teachers will receive or exceed the set minimum threshold, which has led to misunderstandings.