Ministry Simplifies Teacher Salary Payments

Teachers will receive their base salaries and additional benefits in a single package starting later this month, in an effort to simplify the payment process and avoid confusion, Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said Wednesday.

Health, risk and rural bonuses will all be folded into teachers’ base salaries, Mr. Chuon Naron said, declining to say exactly when the new policy will take effect.

A sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday says the new, aggregate payments will be delivered to primary and secondary school teachers, as well as university lecturers and administrators.

The bonuses, collectively, will be $37 per month for primary school teachers, $57 for secondary school teachers, $41 for university administrators and $90 for lecturers, according to the sub-decree.

Mr. Chuon Naron noted that for teachers earning the $105 minimum monthly salary, the new, streamlined bonus package amounted to a 34 percent markup on their base salary.

“Those on higher salaries will not see a change,” he said.

Mr. Chuon Naron also said that teachers who hold a university-equivalent diploma, bachelor’s degree or higher accreditation would, in the future, earn more than those who lack those qualifications, regardless of how long they have worked in the education sector.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, which represents some 10,000 of the country’s educators, said the new policy was nothing more than a political ploy, and would not significantly improve the livelihoods of teachers.

“It is not enough,” said Mr. Chhun, who has lobbied unsuccessfully for a $250 minimum wage for teachers.

Mr. Chhun also said the education minister’s plan to reward teachers with higher degrees was unfair, as it discriminated against veteran educators who entered the profession at a time when such qualifications were uncommon.

The streamlined bonuses follow Prime Minister Hun Sen’s announcement last month that the minimum wage for teachers would be raised in three increments from $105 to $138 by April.

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