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Teacher wage issue in Latvia still unresolved

While the issue of teacher salaries seemed to have been resolved this school year, disappointment set in for many teachers when payday came. For some, wages are even smaller than before. The Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) says financial resources have been allocated to local governments, while in local governments say the funds are not enough, Latvian Television reported October 16.

“Teachers are upset, says Iveta Ratinīka, a teacher at Āgenskalns State Gymnasium. When receiving the billing sheet, there was an unpleasant surprise – with the same number of classes and amount of duties as last year, the salary was almost EUR 50 less. Basically, on the one hand, we supposedly pay for the things that teachers always complain about - grading and preparing for classes. A little more. But we limit the ability to work as many contact hours as a teacher might be forced to do to earn a dignified salary,” Ratinīka said, noting that communication is the biggest problem.

“I think any of the officials now boasting about accomplishments should, internally, maybe pause and ask themselves - did I really communicate the matter properly, was it really my goal to talk about us raising such generous salaries now... We haven't addressed all teachers, we haven't motivated all teachers. Honestly, it's impossible to keep track of all these games.”

Riga City Council (RD) said a balanced load for the teacher means a higher number of paid hours. However, it should be borne in mind that the same hourly pay can only be ensured if there is sufficient funding.

Anita Pēterkopa, Head of the General Education Schools Department of RD, said: “Even at the number of pupils that were in the past because the money still follows the pupil, we are also redistributing funding to schools by these principles. We also take into account external regulatory requirements, average pupil costs, average coefficients and, compared to what the approach is - nothing has changed this year. ”

Compared to the previous school year in Riga, the number of contact and paid hours has increased considerably, which has led to a decrease in the amount of hourly fees in many schools. That's because schools have struggled to balance the number of hours.

Inga Vanaga, President of the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA), said that cuts in teachers' salaries could be due to funding calculations, reallocation of resources allocated to local governments, reduction in the number of pupils, and other reasons.

“Some issues need to be addressed at the school level, others at the municipal level. But we can also say right now that perhaps national estimates are not correct either. That is why we are conducting a survey of education administrations right now and on Thursday we are inviting the Ministry to provide explanations,” Vanaga noted.

The Ministry stressed that funding has been granted to local governments and the Ministry will evaluate how the reallocation of funding has been performed in local governments.

LIZDA emphasized that the further action of the trade union will be determined by the explanations provided by the IZM.

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