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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Salaries for teachers. The Sejm will deal with a citizens’ project on systemic changes

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The citizens’ draft amendment to the Teacher’s Charter Act regarding teachers’ remuneration will be subject to further work in the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Youth. On Thursday, during the first reading in the Sejm, the following people supported further work on the project: PiS, KO, Polska 2050-TD, PLS-TD and the Left.

A citizen’s draft amendment to the Teacher’s Card Act was prepared Polish Teachers’ Union, which collected over 250,000. citizens’ signatures. The aim of the project is to link the amount of teachers’ salaries with the average salary in the economy. – It is an opaque system, incomprehensible not only to the public opinion outside education, but also many teachers have problems with it (…), but above all, it is an ineffective system – emphasized Sławomir Broniarz, president of the Polish Teachers’ Union, presenting the project.

Teachers’ salaries. System to be repaired

That is why – as he said – the current teacher remuneration system did not protect them from rapid pauperization in times of record-breaking inflation in recent years, it also did not prevent their wages from dramatically flattening, almost to the level of minimum wage. – Today, teachers’ earnings are uncompetitive compared to other professional groups, and their level places us at the very bottom of the European Union, as shown by data from the OECD and the European Commission, as well as reports by the Evidence Institute Foundation together with the Polish Teachers’ Union, he said. According to him, the current remuneration system has made the teaching profession simply unattractive. – The teacher remuneration system in its current form is extremely arbitrary, non-transparent and non-objectivistic – also said the president of the Polish Teachers’ Union. He pointed out that it is up to politicians whether teachers’ salaries will increase or remain unchanged. – We want to simplify the system, make it more legible and transparent. We want the system to determine the real earnings of teachers, and not to refer to complicated legal structures that are needed by accountants to fill out tables in Excel. At the same time, we want the remuneration system to guarantee teachers earnings comparable to those in the economy, he added. Therefore – as he said – the reference point in shaping teachers’ salaries should be an objective indicator, independent of the decisions of politicians from the ruling team at a given time. He pointed out that thanks to the solution proposed in the project, teachers’ salaries will automatically increase along with the increase in the average salary in the economy.

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What does a teacher’s salary depend on and what is the project supposed to change?

Currently, the amount of teachers’ remuneration is derived from the base amount for teachers, determined annually in the Budget Act. It is used to calculate the so-called average salary teachers (it is specified in the Teacher’s Charter as a percentage for each level of professional promotion). It consists of them base salary and a dozen or so additions. The amount of the minimum basic salary of teachers at individual levels of professional promotion is determined in a regulation by the Minister of Education. According to the citizens’ draft amendment to the Teacher’s Charter, the amounts of the average and basic remuneration of teachers at individual levels of professional promotion are to constitute a specific percentage of the amount of the average remuneration applicable in the third quarter of the preceding financial year. This is the amount of average remuneration determined on the basis of the Act on pensions and disability pensions from the Social Insurance Fund.

Teachers are leaving their jobs. They pay more in Biedronka and Lidl

During the first reading of the project, presenting the position of the Left Club, Dorota Olko mentioned a conversation with her English teacher friend, who had just changed her job and started it in a corporation.

– I asked her about the reasons for such a decision. And do you know what she mainly talked about? She talked mainly about shame, about the fact that, as an adult, working person, she felt like she couldn’t afford anything and constantly had to ask for help. She is 35 years old and could not afford to rent a studio apartment in Warsaw on her own. Of course, she also has no creditworthiness and will never be able to buy an apartment. She felt that on a teacher’s salary she would never be able to afford to start a family. And she was simply exhausted by this state of affairs and had no hope for any change, she said. According to the Left MP, this shame and sense of hopelessness related to teachers’ earnings are common in schools all over Poland, and in large cities – as she said – it is probably the worst. Olko said that almost PLN 30,000 is missing. teachers, and in Warsaw alone there are over 4,000.

– People leave to work in corporations, start their own companies, but they also leave to work in Lidl or Biedronka, because there they also earn more than they earn at school – she said. – The Polish economy is developing, we are experiencing economic growth, everyone is improving, but not teachers – she noted. She informed that the Left supported further work on the project in the parliamentary committee.

More and more teachers were leaving the profession due to low salariesTVN24

Debate over teachers’ salaries

The following clubs also supported further work on the project in the debate: PiS, KO, Polski 2050-TD and PSL-TD. – Since KO and the October 15 coalition care about a good school, and some of the project’s provisions are outdated, we will propose that the civic project be referred to the education committee – said Elżbieta Gapińska (KO). – In dialogue with teachers, we want to develop assumptions that will be acceptable to all of us, and I think we will find a solution – she emphasized.

Wiesław Różyński (PSL-TD) pointed out that “for many years, there has been too much neglect of this professional group, and yet education is one of the foundations of modern, developed countries.” – I don’t think anyone has any doubts that it is our duty to make every effort to improve the quality of the teaching profession,” said MP. Żaneta Cwalina-Śliwowska (Poland 2050-TD) pointed out that it is important that the remuneration teachers receive for their work, gave them, in addition to a sense of security and stability for themselves and their families, also a sense of respect and an impression of a key mission towards Polish society. – We will not restore a high level of education without offering teachers adequate remuneration – she emphasized. – Today’s project (…) is a solution beneficial for the educational environment. The PiS club (…) will vote for the adoption of this act – declared Tomasz Zieliński (PiS). During the debate, Henryk Kiepura, Deputy Minister of National Education, also spoke. – We will definitely treat our social partners seriously – he assured He pointed out that “a positive example of openness to conversation and dialogue” is “today’s bill, which was frozen by PiS in the so-called parliamentary freezer”. He added that the project was restored very quickly in the Sejm. Kiepura assured that the Ministry of National Education would “participate strongly” in the work on the project, “preparing all calculations, forecasts, informing the MPs”. He also noted that “the final The decision belongs to the Polish Sejm.

Citizens’ project to change teachers’ remuneration

According to the citizens’ project, the average salary of a trainee teacher is to be 90%. average remuneration applicable in the third quarter preceding the budget year, contract teacher – 100 percent average salary, appointed teacher – 125 percent average salary, and for a certified teacher – 155 percent. average salary. At the same time, the amount of the basic salary of a certified teacher would be at least 100%. average salary, and for a trainee teacher – at least 73%. average salary. For the remaining promotion levels, the Minister of Education is to determine the amount of basic salary in proportion to these two levels. The project was submitted to the Sejm in November 2021. The first reading of the project was carried out in February 2022. Then, the project was referred for further work to the Sejm education committee. In the case of civic projects, the principle of continuation at the end of the parliamentary term does not apply; the process of the project starts from the beginning of the next term of office of the Sejm. The ZNP project refers to the legal status when it was submitted. At that time, there were four levels of professional advancement for teachers. The current legal status is different. As of September 2022, two promotion levels have been eliminated: trainee teacher and contract teacher – in their place, a beginner teacher (teacher without a professional promotion level). Presenting the project, President Broniarz noted on Thursday that “these changes require an update of the project, but they do not have any impact on the basic content and message of the initiative.”

Main photo source: Elzbieta Krzysztof/Shutterstock

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