Teacher incentives

Teacher’s salary is the amount of money a teacher is earning from the activity of teaching in a school. The average level of teacher salaries is both politically sensitive and crucially important for education results. In every ministry of education, teachers’ salaries are the most important part of the educational budget (representing around ¾). Salaries affect the attraction, retention, and motivation of good teachers. These factors must be combined and balanced in order to implement a sustainable teacher salary policy.

References
ILO (International Labour Organization). 2012b. ‘Module 5 Salaries and Incentives’. In: Handbook of good human resource practices in the teaching profession. Geneva: ILO. Retrieved from: www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_dialogue/—sector/documents/publication/wcms_187793.pdf

Promising policy options

Strategies to ensure teachers appropriate salaries

Basic salaries must be high enough to ensure teachers a decent level of living, which prevents them from having a second job to complement their salary (leads to absenteeism). Average salaries and the lifetime structure of incentives (the salary scale) must be adequate to attract individuals who meet the desired standards; this means they must be competitive with salary incentives in other sectors of the economy that need to be educated, talented people. A quality teacher training may also be considered to ensure a talented and valuable workforce (more practicing, use of ICT, alternative learning modalities).

To get an idea of the appropriateness of the level of salary of the employed teachers, the comparative perspective constitutes a relevant approach. At the international level, using measures of the average teacher remuneration in per capita GDP terms in a set of countries. Factual documentation can be provided with control for the level of per capita GDP (to account for the fact that teacher remuneration both tends to increase in absolute terms but to decline in relative terms –PCGDP– with the level of economic development) and to identify appropriate country-specific benchmarks.

At the national level, comparing the level of remuneration of the teacher with that of individuals with similar credentials working in another occupation in the public and private sector. The comparison with the remuneration of teachers in private schools may also be considered.

References
Nordstrum, L. E. 2013. Teacher Supply, Training and Cost in the Context of Rapidly Expanding Enrolments: Ethiopia, Pakistan and Tanzania. Background paper for EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/4. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002259/225952E.pdf

Mulkeen, A. 2010b. ‘Chapter 9 The Teaching Career’. In: Teachers in Anglophone Africa: Issues in teacher supply, training, and management. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from:  http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/Teachers_Anglophone_Africa.pdf

Mulkeen, A. 2010c. ‘Chapter 10 Teacher Finance’. In: Teachers in Anglophone Africa: Issues in teacher supply, training, and management. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from:  http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/Teachers_Anglophone_Africa.pdf

Teacher benefits to motivate them and retain them in the sector

One strategy to motivate and retain teachers in the sector is to have policies of career evolution such as having the possibility of being promoted with a higher salary as a classroom teacher or having more responsibilities either as an expert or mentor teacher or by taking on management positions within the school.

As for professional development benefits such as in-service training, study leave, and scholarships for gifted students to become teachers for a certain amount of years exist. Teacher networks can also be an accurate solution that enables teachers to meet, work and train themselves together, on new teaching practices. 

Regarding professional conditions of teaching one strategy is to collaborate with colleagues and with the community to work in a supportive environment.

Finally, it is useful to have comprehensive teacher policies, such as monetary and non-monetary payments to recruit and deploy teachers in more difficult areas (remote, conflict-affected areas). Financial incentives, such as bonuses or allowances for the teachers who work in difficult areas, and non-financial incentives, such as transportation, housing, pension, study leave priority, are potential policies.

References
Amelewonou, K.; Brossard, M.; Gacougnolle, L.C. 2015. La question enseignante dans la perspective de la scolarisation primaire universelle en 2015 dans les pays CEDEAO, CEMAC, PALOP. IIEP-Pôle de Dakar. Dakar: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002160/216064f.pdf

International Task Force on Teachers for Education for All. 2014. Teacher Policy Development Guide. Draft- first version. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002352/235272e.pdf

Richardson, P. W.; Watt, H. M. 2010. Current and future directions in teacher motivation research. The decade ahead: Applications and contexts of motivation and achievement, 16, 139-173. Retrieved from:  www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/S0749-7423%282010%29000016B008

Siniscalco, M.T. 2004. Teachers’ salaries: Teachers’ salaries from a policy perspective. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2005. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001466/146696e.pdf

Vegas, E. 2007. ‘Teacher Labor Markets in Developing Countries’ In: The Future of Children, 17(1), 219-232. Retrieved from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f068/ef3f13bbd1fad4e8c10c814a966881694c18.pdf

Other policy options

Contract teachers

Contract teachers are non-regular teachers on often short contracts and that hasn’t gone through the regular process to become official teachers. These positions are usually not recognised as public servants and are on occasion outside of the teacher regulations, often as a way to increase rapidly the number of teachers in a short amount of time, with their number increasing due to the promotion of larger education access with EFA goals. This kind of contract is generally flexible and can be useful for different reasons:

  • in remote areas, since there are fewer regular teachers in function there;
  • in ethnic minorities’ areas where regular teachers may not speak the language or may not want to work in; and
  • where the teacher/pupils ratio is very high, they can complete the teaching teams and assist teachers in function.

However, these teachers tend to receive lower salaries (they don’t receive allowances nor access to pension and social security), can suffer from high turnover and have fewer qualifications and training. Besides, it can lead to tensions with regular teachers –civil servants–  and affect the quality of education, as much as the respect given to the teaching profession.

Other types of teachers

This includes different types of teachers such as community members and volunteers. Volunteers are not paid, whereas community members who teach in classrooms are paid by the community, especially by parents, with the community teachers being less paid and also less qualified than regular teachers. The use of their service questions the equality within the educational system since they are not supported by the State although they tend to serve the most disadvantaged populations.

References
Duthilleul, Y. 2005. Lessons learnt in the use of ‘contract’ teachers. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001444/144412e.pdf

Fyfe, A. 2007. The Use of Contract Teachers in Developing Countries: Trends and Impact. Geneva: ILO (International Labour Organization). Retrieved from: www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_dialogue/—sector/documents/publication/wcms_160813.pdf

Tournier, B.; Gottelmann-Duret, D. 2015. Teacher management : current challenges. Training modules for education managers and planners. Module n°1. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from  www.iiep.unesco.org/en/training-modules-focus-teacher-management-3337

Performance- or merit-based salaries

In some countries, governments have developed merit-based salaries in order to increase the teaching profession’s attractiveness, paying teachers according to their quality of teaching or their academic qualifications, with higher salaries encouraging teachers to improve their way of teaching. However, this correlation between salary and quality of instruction reaches a “glass ceiling” when pupils’ performance does not increase according to the salary given to teachers. Consequently, performance-based salary may not be efficient to improve structurally students’ learning but can be useful in extreme cases in order to motivate and retain teachers.

Bonuses based on students’ results is a very controversial measure inasmuch as it can affect negatively quality education since it tends to encourage teachers to teach for the national examinations and focus on specific subjects directly linked to the tests. These bonuses can encourage teachers first to concentrate their teaching on short-term results rather than on structural educational values, and second to develop cheatings and individualistic relationships between teachers.

References
Best, A.; Tournier, B.; Chimier, C. 2018. Topical questions on teacher management. Paris : IIEP-UNESCO . Retrieved from: www.iiep.unesco.org/sites/default/files/topical_questions_on_teacher_management_english.pdf

Dolan, J.; Golden A.; Ndaruhutse, S.; Winthrop R. 2012, Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states. Washington D.C.: The Center for Universal Education at Brookings and CfBT Education Trust. Retrieved from: www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/09_CfBT_BrookingsReport.pdf

International Task Force on Teachers for Education for All. 2014. Teacher Policy Development Guide. Draft- first version. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002352/235272e.pdf

Mulkeen, A. 2010a. ‘Chapter 8 Teacher Absence, Pay Distribution, and Discipline’. In: Teachers in Anglophone Africa: Issues in teacher supply, training, and management. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/Teachers_Anglophone_Africa.pdf

The World Bank. 2012. What matters most in teacher policies? A framework for building a more effective teaching profession. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1290520949227/SABER-Teachers-Framework-Updated_June14.2012.pdf

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

Promising policy options

Uphold the principle of equal remuneration in schools

Ministries of Education must commit to the principle of equal remuneration and ensure that public and private schools uphold this principle as well:

  • Ministries of Education should commit explicitly to the principle of equal remuneration through teacher’s salary policy (public servants in public schools). Outlaw unjust benefits based solely on gender, such as in Palestine, where only male teachers and staff members are eligible, by law, to receive monthly family allowances (ILO, 2016);
  • Ministries of Education should ensure that their teacher career model –within which teacher’s salary policy is inscribed– is gender-responsive, by fulfilling two basic criteria when defining, reviewing or reforming it (GPE and UNGEI, 2017). Acknowledge gender roles, norms, and relations throughout the decision-making process, and include specific policies to actively reduce the harmful effects of those gender roles, norms and relations throughout teacher careers; and
  • Ministries of Education should ensure that this principle is respected in private schools as well. For instance, by developing new standards for licensing and regulation that oblige private schools to commit to the principle of equal pay (ILO, 2016).
References
European Commission. n.d. The gender pay gap Action Plan. Accessed 10 September 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/gender-equality/equal-pay/eu-action-against-pay-discrimination_en

GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

ILO (International Labour Organization). 2016. Policy Brief: Exploring the gender pay gap in Occupied Palestinian Territory: A qualitative study of the education sector. ILO. Retrieved from: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—arabstates/—ro-beirut/documents/publication/wcms_542472.pdf

Tournier, B. 2018. Reimagining teacher careers for the 21st century. Accessed 11 September 2019: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/en/reimagining-teacher-careers-21st-century-4786

Promote awareness-raising campaigns on teachers’ right to equal remuneration

Alert and inform teachers about the existence of gender pay gaps within the education sector, which will, in turn, make teachers aware of their right to equal remuneration and gain their support to tackle the issue down. Further, uncover underlying gender inequalities and stereotypes within the teaching profession and develop policies to eliminate them.

References
European Commission. n.d. The gender pay gap Action Plan. Accessed 10 September 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/gender-equality/equal-pay/eu-action-against-pay-discrimination_en

ILO (International Labour Organization). 2016. Policy Brief: Exploring the gender pay gap in Occupied Palestinian Territory: A qualitative study of the education sector. ILO. Retrieved from: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—arabstates/—ro-beirut/documents/publication/wcms_542472.pdf

Tackle down gender pay gaps in teacher salary through inspection and monitoring systems

Schools (public and private) should collect, analyse, report and respond to gender pay gaps in teacher salary. Collect sex-disaggregated data concerning the teachers’ salaries, bonuses, promotions, and other non-pay benefits. Compel schools to analyse and publish their gender pay gap, particularly their mean and median gender pay gap, and gender bonus gap and have them explain the results. For example, since 2017 schools in Wales and England with more than 250 employees are legally obliged to publish their gender pay gap (NASUWT, 2017; NASUWT CYMRU, 2017).

Commit explicitly towards tackling the issue down through a clear action plan, developing context-based enforcement measures to ensure schools are respecting their action plan, making sure teachers are involved in the decision-making process or at least be consulted before the action plan is established (NASUWT, 2017; NASUWT CYMRU, 2017).

Work with the Ministry of Labour to ensure access to efficient and independent dispute settlements and compensation mechanisms for teachers –and contract teachers– who have been affected by gender pay gaps (ILO, 2016) and hold schools accountable for persisting gender pay gaps.

References
European Commission. n.d. The gender pay gap Action Plan. Accessed 10 September 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/gender-equality/equal-pay/eu-action-against-pay-discrimination_en

ILO (International Labour Organization). 2016. Policy Brief: Exploring the gender pay gap in Occupied Palestinian Territory: A qualitative study of the education sector. ILO. Retrieved from: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—arabstates/—ro-beirut/documents/publication/wcms_542472.pdf

NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers). 2017. Bulletin: Gender Pay Gap reporting. Birmingham: NASUWT The Teachers’ Union. Retrieved from: https://www.nasuwt.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/86ccf0a0-89b4-4498-a57268cd65bf7bdb.pdf

NASUWT CYMRU (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers). 2017. Bulletin: Gender Pay Gap reporting. Cardiff: NASUWT CYMRU. Retrieved from: https://www.nasuwt.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/f7eed017-130b-4ab5-8a51e4c1cd0dc389.pdf

NUT (National Education Union). n.d. The Gender Pay Gap. Accessed 10 September 2019: https://neu.org.uk/policy/gender-pay-gap

Take into account entrenched gender issues in salary progression and promotion

It is of utmost importance to analyse and tackle gender issues underlying salary progression and promotion to address teachers’ gender pay gap. Ministries of Education must ensure fair access to pay progression and promotion by analysing teachers’ gender pay gap due to unequal promotions through sex-disaggregated data.

Tackle down any gender bias and discrimination impeding teachers’ promotion such as maternity leaves used as an excuse to refuse promotion which was an issue encountered in schools in the United Kingdom (Jeffreys, 2018).) 

Ensure gender-sensitive training to staff in charge of recruitment and promotions, with Ministries of Education mainstreaming gender throughout policies concerning salary progression and promotion. In the traditional single salary schedule model, promotions –and thus salary increases– are based on seniority and certifications (Tournier, 2018), while in second-generation teacher careers (such as the career ladder), promotions are based on meritocracy (Tournier, 2018).

References
Tournier, B. 2018. Reimagining teacher careers for the 21st century. Accessed 11 September 2019: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/en/reimagining-teacher-careers-21st-century-4786

Education Executive. 2019. Closing the gender pay gap in education. Accessed 10 September 2019: https://edexec.co.uk/closing-the-gender-pay-gap-in-education/

ILO (International Labour Organization). 2016. Policy Brief: Exploring the gender pay gap in Occupied Palestinian Territory: A qualitative study of the education sector. ILO. Retrieved from: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—arabstates/—ro-beirut/documents/publication/wcms_542472.pdf

Policies for teachers with disabilities

All of the policies and strategies previously recommended apply for this category.

In inclusive settings, Ministries of Education should work to ensure that all teachers are paid adequate salaries, which includes allotting adequate teacher salaries to teachers with disabilities and special educators to motivate them to enter the profession and remain in it. Fair access to pay progression and promotion –especially concerning teachers with disabilities– is an essential aspect as well (for instance, tackle down barriers impeding teachers with disabilities of being promoted).  

*Note: Due to a consistent lack of research concerning teachers with disabilities’ pay and promotions, the present section remains general and stresses the need for more research and evidence about pertinent policy options in this area.

References
Lewis, I; Bagree, S. 2013. Teachers for All: Inclusive Teaching for Children with Disabilities. Belgium: IDDC (International Disability and Development Consortium). Retrieved from:  https://www.unicef.org/disabilities/files/IDDC_teacher_education_policy_paper_-_FINAL_-_July_2013.docx.

UNESCO. 1994. The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Educational Needs. Salamanca: Ministry of Education and Science Spain and UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/education/pdf/SALAMA_E.PDF

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

All of the policies and strategies previously recommended apply for this category. Although there is an urgent need for hiring teachers from the displaced population for better representation and for better employment opportunities.

Other policy options

There are certain groups which have started crowdfunding pages for increasing resources to improve teacher salary. This may not be a sustainable nor scalable solution, but it does assist in collecting adequate funds required.

References
ILO (International Labour Organization). 2012b. ‘Module 5 Salaries and Incentives’. In: Handbook of good human resource practices in the teaching profession. Geneva: ILO. Retrieved from: www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_dialogue/—sector/documents/publication/wcms_187793.pdf

Policies for minority populations

Although all of the policies and strategies recommended in the general section of the present Policy page apply for this category, these additional recommendations should be taken into consideration as well.

Other policy options

Strategies to encourage teacher motivation and retain them in the sector

Financial incentives are powerful attractors and might include financial support for tuition, stipends to pay for books or money for transportation. Scholarships or loan forgiveness determines whether or not a student can pursue a college degree. However, academic scholarships traditionally have gone to the best and brightest, leaving out the minority and/or poor student who is in need of it the most.

Additional incentives for attracting minority teachers are:

  • housing assistance, particularly in urban areas where housing costs can be prohibitive for a teacher on a beginning salary. For example, in some districts in the USA, high school students enrolled in building trades programs, worked to build low-cost housing or apartment buildings that are available to new teachers or to teachers who have worked fewer than three years;
  • signing bonuses for new teachers hired to teach in challenging school environments and/or critical demand subject areas. For example, Massachusetts created a $20,000 signing bonus program for 50 college graduates willing to teach in urban areas and committed to working in the state for four years;
  • salary increases, as is the case in Atlanta, the USA, where a large number of teachers from Alabama are drawn since salaries are generally lower in the latter; and
  • the US Congress signed a bill that provides above-the-line tax relief for teachers for the first $250 they spend in out-of-pocket expenses. A new tax deduction for teachers was included in the 2003 federal budget (National Education Association, 2003).

*There is a need for further research on pro-minority teacher hiring and the adequate salary scale which align with their qualifications. It is important to increase the percentage of minority teachers in the workforce, which can only be achieved by allocating more resources into the teaching/training sector.

References
OECD. 2014. Teacher renumeration in Lativa: an OECD perspective. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/education/OECD%20Review%20of%20Teacher%20Remuneration%20in%20Latvia_OPS_FINAL.pdf

Australia. 2019. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Closing the gap: Report 2019. Retrieved from: https://ctgreport.niaa.gov.au/sites/default/files/ctg-report-20193872.pdf?a=1

Judith, T; Janet, S; Nancy, L. P.; Lydia, C. 2004. Minority teacher Recruitment, Development, and Retention. The Education Alliance. Brown University. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED484676.pdf

Australia. n.d. The Northern Territory Department of Education. Indigenous Education Strategy. Remote Teacher Guide: Living and teaching in remote Northern Territory Communities. Darwin. Retrieved from: https://www.teachintheterritory.nt.gov.au/sites/default/files/guide/file/remote-teacher-guideweb.pdf

Tournier, B. 2018. Reimagining teacher careers for the 21st century. Accessed 11 September 2019: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/en/reimagining-teacher-careers-21st-century-4786

Ingersoll, R., May, H., & Collins, G. 2017. Minority teacher recruitment, employment, and retention: 1987 to 2013. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute. Retrieved from: https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/sites/default/files/product-files/Minority_Teacher_Recruitment_REPORT.pdf

ILO-UNESCO (International Labour Organisation). 2016.  Interim report of the Joint ILO–UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel. Geneva. Retrieved from: https://www.ilo.org/global/docs/WCMS_450499/lang–en/index.htm

National Education Association. 2003. Meeting the challenges of recruitment and retention: A guidebook on promising strategies to recruit and retain qualified and diverse teachers. Washington, DC. Retrieved from : https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/hardtostaff_2007.pdf
Additional sources
USA. 2014. State Education Resource Centre. Minority teachers in Connecticut: A Durational Shortage Area, Technical Report. Retrieved from: https://ctserc.org/documents/misc/equity-2017-09-20-minority-teachers.pdf

Sri Lanka. 2013. Ministry of Education. Education First: Sri Lanka. Retrieved from: http://www.moe.gov.lk/english/images/publications/ESDFP2012-2016/EnglishESDFP.pdf

India. 2019. Ministry of Minority Affairs. Special incentives to minority students who are pursing B.Ed. & D.Ed. courses. Karnataka. Retrieved from: https://gokdom.kar.nic.in/B.Ed.D.Ed._Kan.asp

Zeichner, K. M. 2003. The adequacies and inadequacies of three current strategies to recruit, prepare, and retain the best teachers for all students. Teachers College Record. Retrieved from: https://www.academia.edu/25558221/The_Adequacies_and_Inadequacies_of_Three_Current_Strategies_to_Recruit_Prepare_and_Retain_the_Best_Teachers_for_All_Students
Updated on 2021-08-09

Related Articles

Back to top