Audit Office wants less red tape in teachers' pay system

Obscure, incomprehensible and non-transparent teachers’ pay system poses risks of the misuse of public funds and threatens the prestige of the profession, Latvian Auditor General Elita Krumina said after state auditors examined the management of government subsidies that are being provided to schools in Latvia’s municipalities.

The audit revealed that the teachers’ pay system has to be seriously improved both in state and municipal schools and that the supervision of the government subsidies for teachers’ wages has to be enhanced as well.

The audit included 32 education institutions in ten municipalities.

While analyzing the teachers’ pay system, the state auditors found that none of the schools included in the audit had been strictly following the existing regulation and that the teachers’ workload and wages are determined by the schools’ administrators. Only 12 of the 32 schools had worked out pay rules and only five schools had worked out overtime pay standards. At the same time, teachers in many schools received additional pay for performing their basic duties.

As for monetary incentives and bonuses, the State Audit Office found that they are paid based on unclear criteria. Over €44,000 worth of bonuses were paid last year without assessing the teachers’ personal contribution, and another €32,000 were paid to teachers based on a superficial assessment.

Although the Education and Science Ministry has devoted quite a long time to develop a pay system based on the teachers’ personal contribution and work intensity, the result is not satisfactory, the auditors concluded.

Auditor General Krumina noted that the government subsidies for teachers’ wages exceed €320 million and the problems with the pay system concern about 28,000 teachers. “An obscure, incomprehensible and non-transparent pay system poses the risk of a misuse of taxpayers’ money and has a negative impact on the prestige of teachers’ profession,” the auditor general said, urging to cut red tape in municipal schools and make the teachers’ pay system simpler and easier to understand.

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