In line with the move within the Public Service to recognise skills beyond paper qualifications, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will be abolishing the differences in salary structure for graduate and non-graduate educators, including allied educators.
Also, some 30,800 educators in schools here will be getting a pay raise from October, to ensure their wages keep pace with the market.
The merging of salary structures for teachers will kick in from October, while the same is targeted to take place next April for allied educators, who provide students with additional support such as in counselling in classrooms.
With the latest change, non-graduate and graduate teachers may still start off at different salaries “reflecting market practice”, but both groups will progress and be remunerated along the same salary structure. The incentive for long-serving teachers will also no longer be differentiated between graduate and non-graduate teachers.
Details of the merged structure for allied educators will be announced at a later date.
About 30,000 teachers and school leaders will see their monthly salaries go up between 4 per cent and 9 per cent, depending on their seniority level, while some 800 allied educators will have their salaries increased by about 5 per cent.
There are currently about 33,000 teachers and 2,300 allied educators. In response to queries, the MOE said for those who are not eligible for this round of salary adjustments, it is because “their salaries are generally in line with the market”.
Commenting on these changes in a Facebook post today, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said the move to create a single salary structure is “one of the most significant in recent years”.
“We are going beyond qualifications … I am glad to see MOE taking the lead in changing mindsets about skills, and supporting the critical SkillsFuture initiative,” Mr Heng said.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of commemorative notes for SG50 today, Mr Heng noted there will be no change in the way educators are being assessed, which includes criteria such as classroom teaching and how they develop students.
“Our focus continues to be on performance of teachers … At the end of it, the assessment in promotion of teachers depends on performance and contribution and what they bring to the classroom and to the education system,” Mr Heng said.
From next month, the Public Service Division will merge career tracks for graduates and non-graduates.
Last August, the MOE announced that non-graduate teachers with outstanding performance would be placed on the graduate salary scale without the need to obtain a degree.
Currently, the gross starting monthly salary of graduate teachers ranges from S$3,010 to S$3,310 while that of non-graduate teachers ranges from S$1,580 to S$1,920. For allied educators, salaries range between S$1,500 to S$4,300.
The last round of salary adjustments for educators was in September 2012. Mr Heng, when queried, debunked talk that the increments were election-related.
Salary revisions, he said, are “periodic”.
“It is part and parcel of how the public service operates,” he said. “In this cycle, we took almost a year to finalise many of the details to create a single (salary) scheme of service to support the efforts of SkillsFuture, in creating (an) emphasis on skills to go beyond qualifications.”
The MOE will also be giving cash payouts of between S$500 to S$700 to teachers every September from next year to educators for learning-related expenses such as computers and magazine subscriptions, instead of staff having to file claims for them.
Non-graduate teachers TODAY spoke to welcomed the single salary structure, calling it a long-time coming. A 36-year-old teacher who is currently studying for his degree, and has been teaching for seven years, said non-graduate teachers “are always behind in terms of remuneration even when facing the same expectations … as graduate teachers”. He did not want to be named.
Another teacher, 28, who does not hold a degree, and has been in service for the past six years, pointed out that all teachers have the same workload regardless of their qualifications. It is “fairer” to be remunerated on the same scheme, she said, adding: “Hopefully, this will make them more motivated and give them more opportunities in their career progression.”