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Reduce gap in pay for school, college teachers

Teacher salary

Times of India


MARGAO: The Higher Secondary Teachers’ Association of Goa has demanded that the Goa government should represent their case before the proposed seventh pay commission in order to reduce the gap in pay scales of school teachers and college lecturers for which there is a wide gap at present.

A delegation led by association president Beena Naik presented their views before the director of education, Anil Powar, recently, states a press note. Naik requested Powar to support their demand of placing their scale into a different pay scale. Higher secondary teachers, who are postgraduates along with a B Ed., have been placed in the categories of school teachers, she said.

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Michael Gove ‘refusing to back down over teachers’ strike’

Global news, Teacher salary

The Telegraph


Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, writes to England’s two biggest   teaching unions to confirm that contentious reforms at the centre of recent   strike action are ‘fixed’

Michael Gove was put on a fresh collision course with England’s biggest   classroom unions today after refusing to backtrack over controversial   reforms to the teaching profession.

In a move that raises the possibility of further strike action, the Education   Secretary insisted that the Government’s stance on pay and pensions was    “fixed” and ruled out any possible changes.

The intervention comes just over a week after the National Union of Teachers   (NUT) and the NASUWT suspended a threatened walk-out before Christmas after   revealing Mr Gove had agreed to formal talks.

They are taking part in a long-running protest over the introduction of   performance-related pay in English schools alongside changes to pensions   that will see teachers work for longer and accumulate a smaller retirement   fund.

Both unions – representing around nine-in-10 teachers – had already taken part   in a series of three regional strikes across England over the last few   months.

They had demanded one-on-one talks with the Education Secretary to discuss   reforms of the teaching profession alongside other issues such as workload   and job losses.

In a letter to both unions on Wednesday, Mr Gove said he was committed to    “resolving your trade disputes” and confirmed that he had “offered a   programme of talks”.

But in provocative move, he insisted that the talks would focus on the    “implementation of policy, given that the direction of policy on pay and   pensions is fixed following full consultation”.

In a further intervention, Mr Gove also revealed that every other teaching   association would be invited to the talks. This includes smaller classroom   unions, two associations representing head teachers and even one non-union   body – Edapt – that provides independent advice to teachers on personnel   issues.

He said: “This will help ensure that all are represented fairly, and striking   unions do not have any unfair advantage over other organisations which have   not taken strike action.”

The NUT and NASUWT staged the first in a series of regional walk-outs in the   North West of England on June 27.

They then embarked on two further strikes last month – one concentrating on   the Midlands and Yorkshire, with another taking in the South of England,   North East and Cumbria.

Both unions had been due to take part in a national strike before Christmas   but it was called off after Mr Gove agreed to talks.

Speaking at the time, Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said: “We are   giving Government the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with   us to resolve our ongoing dispute on pay, pensions and workload.

“We have always been available for such negotiations and would have preferred   that this was a route the Government had gone down sooner rather than later.

“For the sake of teachers and the future of our children’s education I   sincerely hope that the Government takes these talks seriously and we find a   speedy resolution to our dispute.

“Failure to do so will leave us with no choice but to take further action as   the issues at stake are far too important to be swept to one side. If there   has to be national strike action it will be entirely the fault of the   Secretary of State, Michael Gove.”


The $4 Million Teacher

Teacher performance, Teacher salary

South Korea’s students rank among the best in the world, and its top teachers can make a fortune. Can the U.S. learn from this academic superpower?

Wall Street Journal

August 3, 2013


Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher—a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country’s private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills—and he is in high demand.

Mr. Kim works about 60 hours a week teaching English, although he spends only three of those hours giving lectures. His classes are recorded on video, and the Internet has turned them into commodities, available for purchase online at the rate of $4 an hour. He spends most of his week responding to students’ online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date).

“The harder I work, the more I make,” he says matter of factly. “I like that.”

I traveled to South Korea to see what a free market for teaching talent looks like—one stop in a global tour to discover what the U.S. can learn from the world’s other education superpowers. Thanks in part to such tutoring services, South Korea has dramatically improved its education system over the past several decades and now routinely outperforms the U.S. Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.

Tutoring services are growing all over the globe, from Ireland to Hong Kong and even in suburban strip malls in California and New Jersey. Sometimes called shadow education systems, they mirror the mainstream system, offering after-hours classes in every subject—for a fee. But nowhere have they achieved the market penetration and sophistication of hagwons in South Korea, where private tutors now outnumber schoolteachers.

Viewed up close, this shadow system is both exciting and troubling. It promotes striving and innovation among students and teachers alike, and it has helped South Korea become an academic superpower. But it also creates a bidding war for education, delivering the best services to the richest families, to say nothing of its psychological toll on students. Under this system, students essentially go to school twice—once during the day and then again at night at the tutoring academies. It is a relentless grind.

The bulk of Mr. Kim’s earnings come from the 150,000 kids who watch his lectures online each year. (Most are high-school students looking to boost their scores on South Korea’s version of the SAT.) He is a brand name, with all the overhead that such prominence in the market entails. He employs 30 people to help him manage his teaching empire and runs a publishing company to produce his books.

To call this mere tutoring is to understate its scale and sophistication. Megastudy, the online hagwon that Mr. Kim works for, is listed on the South Korean stock exchange. (A Megastudy official confirmed Mr. Kim’s annual earnings.) Nearly three of every four South Korean kids participate in the private market. In 2012, their parents spent more than $17 billion on these services. That is more than the $15 billion spent by Americans on videogames that year, according to the NPD Group, a research firm. The South Korean education market is so profitable that it attracts investments from firms like Goldman Sachs, the Carlyle Group and A.I.G.

It was thrilling to meet Mr. Kim—a teacher who earns the kind of money that professional athletes make in the U.S. An American with his ambition and abilities might have to become a banker or a lawyer, but in South Korea, he had become a teacher, and he was rich anyway.

The idea is seductive: Teaching well is hard, so why not make it lucrative? Even if American schools will never make teachers millionaires, there are lessons to be learned from this booming educational bazaar, lessons about how to motivate teachers, how to captivate parents and students and how to adapt to a changing world.

To find rock-star teachers like Mr. Kim, hagwon directors scour the Internet, reading parents’ reviews and watching teachers’ lectures. Competing hagwons routinely try to poach one another’s celebrity tutors. “The really good teachers are hard to retain—and hard to manage. You need to protect their egos,” says Lee Chae-yun, who owns a chain of five hagwons in Seoul called Myungin Academy.

The most radical difference between traditional schools and hagwons is that students sign up for specific teachers, so the most respected teachers get the most students. Mr. Kim has about 120 live, in-person students per lecture, but a typical teacher’s hagwon classes are much smaller. The Korean private market has reduced education to the one in-school variable that matters most: the teacher.

It is about as close to a pure meritocracy as it can be, and just as ruthless. In hagwons, teachers are free agents. They don’t need to be certified. They don’t have benefits or even a guaranteed base salary; their pay is based on their performance, and most of them work long hours and earn less than public school teachers.

Performance evaluations are typically based on how many students sign up for their classes, their students’ test-score growth and satisfaction surveys given to students and parents. “How passionate is the teacher?” asks one hagwon’s student survey—the results of which determine 60% of the instructor’s evaluation. “How well-prepared is the teacher?” (In 2010, researchers funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found classroom-level surveys like this to be surprisingly reliable and predictive of effective teaching in the U.S., yet the vast majority of our schools still don’t use them.) “Students are the customers,” Ms. Lee says. To recruit students, hagwons advertise their results aggressively. They post their graduates’ test scores and university acceptance figures online and outside their entrances on giant posters. It was startling to see such openness; in the U.S., despite our fetish for standardized testing, the results remain confusing and hard to interpret for parents.

Once students enroll, the hagwon embeds itself in families’ lives. Parents get text messages when their children arrive at the academies each afternoon; then they get another message relaying students’ progress. Two to three times a month, teachers call home with feedback. Every few months, the head of the hagwon telephones, too. In South Korea, if parents aren’t engaged, that is considered a failure of the educators, not the family. If tutors get low survey marks or attract too few students, they generally get placed on probation. Each year, Ms. Lee fires about 10% of her instructors. (By comparison, U.S. schools dismiss about 2% of public school teachers annually for poor performance. All of this pressure creates real incentives for teachers, at least according to the kids. In a 2010 survey of 6,600 students at 116 high schools conducted by the Korean Educational Development Institute, Korean teenagers gave their hagwon teachers higher scores across the board than their regular schoolteachers: Hagwon teachers were better prepared, more devoted to teaching and more respectful of students’ opinions, the teenagers said. Interestingly, the hagwon teachers rated best of all when it came to treating all students fairly, regardless of the students’ academic performance.

Private tutors are also more likely to experiment with new technology and nontraditional forms of teaching. In a 2009 book on the subject, University of Hong Kong professor Mark Bray urged officials to pay attention to the strengths of the shadow markets, in addition to the perils. “Policy makers and planners should…ask why parents are willing to invest considerable sums of money to supplement the schooling received from the mainstream,” he writes. “At least in some cultures, the private tutors are more adventurous and client-oriented.”

But are students actually learning more in hagwons? That is a surprisingly hard question to answer. World-wide, the research is mixed, suggesting that the quality of after-school lessons matters more than the quantity. And price is at least loosely related to quality, which is precisely the problem. The most affluent kids can afford one-on-one tutoring with the most popular instructors, while others attend inferior hagwons with huge class sizes and less reliable instruction—or after-hours sessions offered free by their public schools. Eight out of 10 South Korean parents say they feel financial pressure from hagwon tuition costs. Still, most keep paying the fees, convinced that the more they pay, the more their children will learn.

For decades, the South Korean government has been trying to tame the country’s private-education market. Politicians have imposed curfews and all manner of regulations on hagwons, even going so far as to ban them altogether during the 1980s, when the country was under military rule. Each time the hagwons have come back stronger.

“The only solution is to improve public education,” says Mr. Kim, the millionaire teacher, echoing what the country’s education minister and dozens of other Korean educators told me. If parents trusted the system, the theory goes, they wouldn’t resort to paying high fees for extra tutoring.

To create such trust, Mr. Kim suggests paying public-school teachers significantly more money according to their performance—as hagwons do. Then the profession could attract the most skilled, accomplished candidates, and parents would know that the best teachers were the ones in their children’s schools—not in the strip mall down the street.

Schools can also build trust by aggressively communicating with parents and students, the way businesses already do to great effect in the U.S. They could routinely survey students about their teachers—in ways designed to help teachers improve and not simply to demoralize them. Principals could make their results far more transparent, as hagwons do, and demand more rigorous work from students and parents at home in exchange. And teacher-training programs could become far more selective and serious, as they are in every high-performing education system in the world—injecting trust and prestige into the profession before a teacher even enters the classroom.

No country has all the answers. But in an information-driven global economy, a few truths are becoming universal: Children need to know how to think critically in math, reading and science; they must be driven; and they must learn how to adapt, since they will be doing it all their lives. These demands require that schools change, too—or the free market may do it for them.

—Ms. Ripley is an Emerson Fellow at the New America Foundation. This essay is adapted from her forthcoming book, “The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way,” to be published Aug. 13 by Simon & Schuster. Copyright © 2013 by Amanda Ripley.


Rural teachers below par, says study

Teacher performance, Teacher salary

A study sponsored by the United Nations has found many primary school teachers in the rural areas inadequately skilled for their job.

The study notes that most of them are weakest in situations where they are required to find creative ways for an effective teaching. It also observed that the current nature of qualifications and “usual types of teacher training” were not sufficient to guarantee effective teaching.

“A much closer look is needed at what teachers know, what they are able to do and how they translate their own capabilities into practice,” suggests the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) on “Teaching and learning in rural India” by Pratham, a non-government organisation. The study was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan in collaboration with Unicef and Unesco, covering a large cohort of almost 30,000 standard II and standard IV students randomly selected from the enrollment registers of government schools.

The study found no relationship between specific teacher characteristics like years of experience, gender, age, educational or professional qualifications and student learning outcomes.

“Selecting candidates with the best possible academic qualifications does not automatically ensure that they know how to teach young children. But teachers’ ability to teach, as measured by a simple teaching capability assessment, is correlated with higher student achievement,” it said.

Teachers’ content knowledge was in many cases inadequate when compared against a standard 4 curriculum. Although simple corrections of basic competencies could be done well by most teachers, their ability to explain content was clearly easier to do for simpler concepts or operations than for those that have slightly higher levels of difficulty.

“Teachers are weakest when it comes to application of their knowledge or skill to a given situation where they have to take the initiative to generate something new, such as a meaningful summary or a problem for students to solve,” the survey observed.

Researchers involved in the study also felt great need of “child friendly” class rooms in primary schools, but lamented that teachers’ theoretical awareness of the importance of such classrooms did not translate into practice.

“In four out of every ten classrooms observed for this study, none of the six very simple ‘child friendly’ indicators were observed,” stated the report. Findings of the study indicated that children did learn over the course of a year, “too little and too late. The process of falling behind begins early. Once behind, there are no mechanisms within the school system to help children catch up,”the report suggested.

Deccan Herald, 29 October 2011


Teacher unions stage sit-down at edu office

Teacher salary

NAGPUR: The deputy director’s (education) office had its hands full on Saturday with two teachers’ unions staging a sit down at its gate. Independent of each other, the Vidarbha Madhyamik Shikshak Sangh (VMSS) and Teachers Welfare Organization (TWO) reached the education office to present a memorandum against the government’s policies regarding teachers. Prominent among the demands of both unions were the pay packages being offered to teachers.

Former MLC VU Daigavane, who led the VMSS protest, said, “The government had agreed to increase the daily allowance of state employees but teachers have not yet got their dues. The state promised us 8% increase but there is a backlog of 32 months and counting. In one of the demands of our memorandum, we have urged the chief minister and education minister to at least give us a reason to smile this Diwali. There are other demands which have been pending for a long time but it seems that the government does not care.”

The two unions maintained that it was pure coincidence that both of them chose the same time to stage the sit-down.

PC Goswami, president of Teachers Welfare Organization, said, “The government keeps on making policies but does not do any follow up to see if things are being properly implemented or not. The recently conducted students’ census showed that probably one lakh students are bogus. This fraud is being perpetrated by the education officials to siphon off money from government coffers. That money could well have been used to pay salaries to deserving teachers.”

Assistant director (education) P Nikas met with the protesters and assured to follow up on their memorandum. Nikas, said, “My office will pass on their demands to the ministry immediately. We are only a medium between the unions and the government. As far as their allegations against education officials are concerned, please understand that not all are corrupt. It is probably because of a few people that the entire department is getting a bad name.”

The education department is currently mired in controversies and allegations of conniving with unscrupulous schools to siphon funds.

Times of India, 16 October 2011


Research: Whether to Hire Local Contract Teachers? Trade-off Between Skills and Preferences in India

Teacher performance, Teacher salary

Authors – Sonja Fagernas & Panu Pelkonen


Whether to hire teachers locally on a contract basis, or via competitive examinations as government officials, is a major policy question in developing countries. We use a Discrete Choice Experiment to assess the job preferences of 700 future elementary school teachers in the state of Uttarakhand in India. The students have been selected using either competitive examination or from a pool of locally hired contract teachers. Skills in English, Arithmetic and Vocabulary are also tested. We find a trade-off between skills and preferences, as students hired using competitive examination have higher skills, but prefer posts in less remote regions.

For full length paper, click here.


Research Paper – Effective Schools: Teacher Hiring, Assignment, Development, and Retention

Teacher education and training, Teacher performance, Teacher salary

Authors: Susanna Loeb, Demetra Kalogrides and Tara Béteille

The literature on effective schools emphasizes the importance of a quality teaching force in improving educational outcomes for students. In this paper, we use value-added methods to examine the relationship between a school’s effectiveness and the recruitment, assignment, development and retention of its teachers. We ask whether effective schools systematically recruit more effective teachers; whether they assign teachers to students more effectively; whether they do a better job of helping their teachers improve; whether they retain more effective teachers; or whether they do a combination of these processes. Our results reveal four key findings. First, we find that more effective schools are able to attract and hire more effective teachers from other schools when vacancies arise. Second, we find that more effective schools assign novice teachers to students in a more equitable fashion. Third, we find that teachers who work in schools that were more effective at raising achievement in a prior period improve more rapidly in a subsequent period than do those in less effective schools. Finally, we find that more effective schools are better able to retain higher-quality teachers, though they are not differentially able to remove ineffective teachers. The results point to the importance of personnel, and perhaps, school personnel practices, for improving student outcomes.

Read more.


Teachers’ recruitment to be streamlined: Mamata

Teacher education and training, Teacher salary

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government has decided to streamline recruitment of teachers and PTTI students by bringing them all under the school education department.

Selection of students for Primary Teachers Training Institutes, para-teachers, teachers working under the Madhyamik Siksha Kendra and Sarba Siksha Kendra will all be brought under the ambit of the school education department, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters here today.

“There are different teachers working under the secondary and the primary level school education systems which is not correct. So we have decided to bring all of them under the school education and absorb them phase by phase,” Banerjee said.

Terming the teacher recruitment process as scandalous, Banerjee said all teachers including para teachers, those working under the SSK and MSK schemes and those working under the panchayat and Rural Development systems will come under school education and PTTI students who have done their B.Ed and BT and who are eligible to get a job will be recruited in a span of three years.

Banerjee said a decision had also been taken to enable retired teachers to get pensions regularly.

“It has been noticed that many of them die before getting their pensions at hand. Since it takes a long time to settle the pension issue even at the school level, we have decided to start a provisional pension scheme under which a teacher will start getting pension from the month after retirement till the issue is settled,” Banerjee said.

Business Standard, June 04, 2011


Research Paper

Teacher performance, Teacher salary

Does Performance Related Pay for Teachers Improve Student Achievement? Some Evidence from India

Geeta Kingdon and Francis Teal

In this paper data from a school survey in India is used to ask if there is evidence for the payment of performance related pay and whether such pay structures do impact on student achievement. It is shown that – after controlling for student ability, parental background and the resources available – private schools get significantly better academic results by relating pay to achievement; government schools do not. We discuss possible interpretations of this result.

For more click here


Report questions focus of DfID spending on education

Finances & Budgets, Teacher salary

Funding from the UK government to support primary education in developing countries has helped increase pupil enrolment rates, but has had little impact on raising attainment levels or lowering absenteeism, according to a report published today.

The National Audit Office (NAO) report found that, since 2001, aid money from the Department for International Development (DfID) has helped the department’s 22 priority countries make significant progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal to achieve universal primary education and gender equality in schools. But the money has not improved the quality of education, reduced drop-out rates, or sufficiently monitored teachers’ pay levels, which typically take up 90% of the education budget in developing countries.

The report recommended that money be better targeted towards improving pupil attendance and attainment, monitoring school performance and levels of teachers pay, and supporting functional inspection programmes.

The report comes two days after the international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, announced a review of where and how DfID spends its £2.9bn bilateral (government to government) aid budget. The department is expected to focus resources on fewer countries. Since taking over at DfID in May, Mitchell has promised greater value for money on aid spending.

At present, DfID is among the largest funders of primary education, alongside the World Bank and the Netherlands.

The NAO report noted that the department had committed to increasing expenditure on education, and had planned to spend at least £1bn over the current financial year. Some 69% of the money is given as bilateral aid, the rest is channelled through other organisations.

The department estimates that in 2007-08, it had funded around 5 million children in state schools around the world.

Since 2001, DfID had focused resources on teacher training, purchasing textbooks and building more schools, said the report.

Of the department’s 22 priority countries, which includes Uganda, 14 are on track to achieve universal primary education by 2015. In some countries enrolment rates have risen from 50% to 70%-80% since 2001. Progress on gender parity was judged to be “good” with eight of the 22 countries already having achieved equality.

But the NAO said completion rates for primary education remained low and drop-out rates remained at unacceptable levels. The report acknowledged the difficulties of calculating completion rates, as data was not easy to access in some countries, but said DfID had not given this area enough emphasis.

Pupil attainment levels had been poorly measured, said the report, but the limited data showed low attainment levels. In Ghana, figures showed that, at the most, only 26% of students were proficient in English and maths when they reached year six of primary school.

“There is little or no progress on literacy since the United Nations agreed the goals in 2000. High enrolment increases the proportion of children from uneducated families, increasing the difficulty of improved attainment,” said the report.

“Since 2001 DfID programme objectives have emphasised enrolment much more than completion or attainment.”

The report noted that DfID had recently taken steps to address the issues.

Teachers’ pay

Teacher attendance remained problematic and DfID had failed to routinely monitor teachers’ pay, despite it dominating national government education budgets, said the NAO.

In Katine, in north-east Uganda, where the Guardian is monitoring development work carried out by the African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref), headteachers have often complained about poor pay and the lack of qualified teachers in the sub-county.

“Teachers’ pay dominates education budgets, yet DfID has had little focus on it,” said the report.

The NAO said DfID needed to monitor more closely the costs of classroom construction and textbook procurement to ensure value for money.

“A recent DfID review identified wide ranges in unit costs. Classroom construction varied from US$3,600 to US$20,000, while on average textbooks ranged from US$0.50 to US$5.00. Such wide ranges suggest national circumstances alone would not fully explain variations, and further DfID analysis could identify scope for improved value for money.”

It added that a DfID-supported programme in Kenya had shown that contracting work locally, rather than centrally, had halved building costs. This was found to be true in Katine.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “DfID support to primary education in developing countries has helped increase provision, with enrolment levels rising greatly, especially for girls. More emphasis now needs to be placed on quality, attainment and cost-effectiveness and DfID has begun to move in this direction.

“In my view it needs to do more and to take a tougher, clearer stance on the importance of cost and service performance information, and in particular indicators of education delivery and attainment if it is to make sure that its contributions achieve the maximum good effect.”

Andrew Mitchell said: “Education is a basic human right and a very good investment in the future. This report shows that progress is being made but also why this government is right to focus on results – concentrating on outputs and outcomes, not just inputs. Value for money, transparency and effectiveness remain my top priorities.”

Liz Ford, The Guardian June 18 2010

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