Rising Teacher Wages Short-term “Band-Aid” Solutions for the Education Sector: Experts


An Australian expert said raising teacher wages is not a silver bullet to solve the myriad problems facing the New South Wales education sector.

His comments came after tens of thousands of teachers quit their jobs on June 30 at the state’s largest teacher strike for over 20 years, demanding better wages and conditions.

The two unions behind the protest, the New South Wales (NSW) Teachers’ Federation and the Independent Education Union (IEU), are demanding a 5-7% salary increase instead of the 3% previously provided by the state government. ..

However, Glenn Fahei, director of the Independent Research Center’s education program, was critical of this approach, saying it was just a demand for “more wages for less work and less accountability.” ..

“Everyone wants to prevent teachers from overwork and burnout,” he told The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times Photo
On May 18, 2017, a teacher reads a story to young students at Glen Leaden School in Brisbane, Australia. (AAP Image / Dan Peled)

“But the union campaign hasn’t taken the issue seriously, perhaps overshadowing the message about wage conditions, teacher supply, and burnout.”

“Rather than seeing money as a universal band-aid, we should work on a solution for each of them.”

He said the current strike would do nothing to advance “the status of the teaching profession or the status of those who want to advance their careers.”

What are the facts?

Australian teachers are one of the highest wages on average when compared to developed countries and similar professions, with beginner level teachers earning around A $ 70,000 (US $ 47,900) annually. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

However, unless you change jobs to a managerial position, experienced teachers will not receive comparable compensation to other professions as they work longer in the field.

Meanwhile, a 2019 OECD study found that one of the main causes of educator stress was not salary issues, but heavy administrative work, school management, collaboration and class preparation. I did.

Also, despite the long working hours, the teacher’s job satisfaction is Comparable to other countries.

According to March Research treatise Created by Fahey, early career teacher churn rates are around 10-14%, which hasn’t changed for 15 years and is on average lower than in other countries.

Moreover, Australia has less teacher shortages than other countries, in contrast to the union’s claim that many teachers are quitting due to poor salaries and conditions.

What is the solution?

Fahei told The Epoch Times that the solution to the teacher’s workload should be to prioritize the “highest amount” for high-performing educators.

He needs a “systematic approach” to address issues such as reducing paperwork, reducing teacher workload by administrative staff, sharing existing resources, and reducing employment barriers for new teachers. I said there is.

“If the union is serious about vocational awareness, they should have a constructive dialogue on how to reward top teachers and improve the practices of poorly performing teachers,” he said. ..

“Instead, the union refused to accept such a flexible approach and instead installed a wall.”

Epoch Times Photo
School teachers will march along McCauley Street on May 4, 2022 towards the New South Wales State Parliament in Sydney, Australia. (Jenny Evans / Getty Images)

He argued that the strike was a trick to trick the public into thinking that Australians were against teachers.

“they [unions] There is a consistent idea of ​​war to withdraw money from taxpayers and ultimately from parents for that purpose. “

Union stance

Angelo Gabriellatos, chairman of the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation, criticized the New South Wales government’s 3% salary increase proposal as “take it or leave it” and claim it was “well below inflation.” did.

“If we don’t pay teachers their value, we can’t get the teachers we need,” he said. statement June 30th.

“The sharp rise in living expenses, lack of real wage growth, ever-increasing workload, and pandemics have created a serious shortage of Catholic school staff,” added Mark Northam, IEUA NSW / ACT Branch Secretary. ..

“Our members are exhausted and burned out,” he said. Said on June 21st.

The Epoch Times contacted the NSW Teachers’ Federation and the IEU, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

NSW Minister of Education Sarah Mitchell described union behavior throughout NSW as a “political motivation.”

“It’s not a coincidence that it’s all happening all at once, and that we are a coalition government, but we continue to work in good faith.”

“We said on a budget [that] We aim to put a more generous public sector salary increase on the table. That’s exactly what we did.It’s more than any other teacher can expect anywhere else in the country, “she said. Nine news On thursday.

Nina Nguyen


Nina Nguyen is a Sydney-based reporter. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Contact her at [email protected].