To mark World Teachers’ Day, which was on Monday, we will examine the status of Iranian teachers.
It will not surprise you to learn that teachers in Iran are undervalued and underpaid by the government, especially when you consider that compared to other professions there is a high number of women employed, but some of these other facts are shocking.
Job Contracts and Classifications
The only teachers considered officially employed are those who were hired by the Education Ministry, which most are not. Instead, they are hired by private intermediary businesses on temporary contracts, which are exploited by officials, so that these teachers receive below the minimum wage, do not get any benefits, including insurance, do not get bonuses, and are prevented from getting overtime pay. Unlike official teachers, they have short contracts and can be dismissed easily, but they also will not get paid over the holidays or during unexpected closures.
This is despite the fact that the public school system could not run without them.
— Iran Focus (@Iran_Focus) August 25, 2020
On that note, let’s talk about the money that teachers get. As mentioned, contract teachers are hired by private companies who are paid by the Education Ministry and then give the teachers a small stipend. Their wages cannot meet their basic needs, with many working for less than one dollar per day, even those with years of experience. Because of this, teachers must get second or third jobs, especially because the government doesn’t take the high inflation rate into account when determining salaries.
One teacher said: “Outsourcing teachers have been cooperating with the Education Ministry since 2009. They have B.S., M.S., and even doctorate degrees but teach in public high schools. Their salaries are the lowest. They receive about 30,000-80,000 rials [$0.1-0.25] for every hour. This means that they earn between 240,000-300,000 rials [$0.8-1] for 8 hours of teaching in one day.”
The outsourced teachers in some provinces have not even been paid for two years and in others earn less than the janitor, even though most teachers are the heads of the household. But they cannot complain, or they will not be hired for the next year.
Education Ministry official Alireza Kamarei said that by not paying the salaries of the teachers, officials have saved 1.62 trillion rials [$4.2 million], in much the same way that you can save money on your grocery shop by just walking out without paying.
The problems of teachers have been exacerbated by the coronavirus as now they have to pay for their own internet to work from home.