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Global Teaching Industry Comparative
Teachers all over the world are facing the same issues: overcrowded classrooms, low pay caps, lack of resources and funding. In Australia, the ability to organise and bargain collectively allows teachers to form strong unions to fight for and protect their rights at work.
The Global Teaching Industry
Teachers and those who work in the education industry in developing countries face these same issues. However, while Australian teachers can use the influence of their unions to affect policy decisions, teachers in other countries receive low pay yet have little union support to help them fight for their rights.
Teachers: An International Perspective
Low Wages In Cambodia, teachers can make as little as $20 USD per month--the average wage of teachers in the Svay Rieng province. An average base salary for a primary school teacher is $20 USD per month; a high school teacher has a base salary of $30 USD per month. In a country where $45 USD per month (an average manufacturing wage in Cambodia) is considered barely livable, teachers often can't afford basic necessities, let alone support families.
Indonesian teachers don't fare much better. Full-time teachers in Indonesia earn anywhere from $85 to $105 USD per month, according to the Jakarta Post.
Back Pay and the Necessity of Second Jobs In addition to low salaries, many teachers fight the problem of back pay owed by schools. In public schools in Cambodia, for instance, the federal government distributes teachers' incomes to the provincial government, who then distribute it to the schools. The entire process is lengthy and riddled with corruption. It is common for teachers' pay to be several months late.
Many teachers in developing countries come from rural areas to teach in urban public schools. Frequently, the teachers' families depend on a portion of their teaching income. When wages are low and often late, many teachers find it necessary to undertake second jobs, in order to afford their rent and still send money to their families. It's common for teachers in Cambodian, Indonesia, Bangladesh and other poor countries to teach during the day, and work as taxi drivers or street vendors at night. In some cases, teachers are so poor they cannot afford their rent, and must return home to work for their families.
Desperate to support themselves and their families on meager salaries, some teachers resort to bribery and corruption; teachers in Cambodia have reportedly sold exam papers to students for 300 riel--less than $0.10 USD.
How much would you make if you were a primary school teacher in a different city? How many hours a week would you work?
Mexico City, Mexico
New York, USA
What would your salary allow you to buy? Imagine you held a job as a secondary school teacher in one of the above countries. You and your family depended predominantly on your salary to afford basic necessities such as food, clothing, and rent. How many hours would you have to work, on an average secondary school teacher's wages, to buy food for your family?
In Manila, Philippines you'd work ...
In Phnom Penh, Cambodia you'd work ...
In Hanoi, Vietnam you'd work ...
In China* you'd work ...
In Australia* you'd work ...
average across country, based on 23-day working month, 38-hour working week
ILO statistics, based on 27-day working month, 48-hour working week.
Not only do Australian secondary teachers make far more than secondary teachers in developing countries, their average wages have much more purchasing power. The statistics above take into account the real value of wages in an given country, according to what one could buy with them, at average local prices.
The statistics above represent, in most cases, only the official, reported salaries of teachers. In countries like Vietnam, China, Cambodia and elsewhere across the developing world, income statistics reported by government bureaus often represent the best case scenario; in reality, many teachers are paid far below the minimum standard and have little recourse to address their under-compensation.
Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA
Ph: (02) 9264 9343
Fax: (02) 9261 1118
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