RUSSIA: The teaching profession

Randy Black writes;I have immense respect for my good friend Cameron Sawyer when it comes to facts about the Russian economy. While he mentions the plight of teachers in Russia as being dismal, I think there is even more to the issue that is not being said. Notwithstanding that Cameron’s mother-in-law is cleaning up in Moscow with her $33 per hour tutoring business, elsewhere 800,000 teachers, many earning $75  per month, are on strike. Here is an Agence France Presse report:

Over 15,000 teachers on strike in Russia's Far East

Over 15,000 teachers and kindergarten employees went on rallies and strikes all over Russia's Far Eastern region of Primorye as part of nationwide demand for higher pay. One of the largest demonstrations, staged in the Pacific port of Vladivostok, rallied some 3,000 people under slogans calling for "A worthy salary for teachers and doctors" and "For a dignified life".  "The salary of a teacher who has been working for 30 years is no more than 6,000 rubles (200 dollars) now. A young teacher can hope for up to 2,000 rubles, and the salary rise in 2003 helped us not at all because of inflation," Primorye's teacher trade union chairwoman Raisa Shabanova said. "I have been working as a physics teacher for 30 years and get only 5,700 rubles a month, while it takes up to 15,000 rubles to live normally in Primorye," mourned another protester, Tatyana Puzyrevskaya.

However, local authorities did not send any official to meet with the protesters. Around one million Russian state school teachers were expected to strike Wednesday to press their demand for an increase to their salaries, which average 100 dollars a month, union officials said earlier. Around 800,000 teachers were expected to take part in the strike with others organising demonstrations. The current Russian state budget contained a provision to raise the pay of teachers in schools financed by federal funds -- as opposed to regional or municipal treasuries -- but trade unions said that raise had still not been implemented. Around one-third of Russia's state schools are financed through the federal budget, but trade union officials said the strike action would press the demand for the salaries of all public teachers to be increased.

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: December 5, 2004