Monday 16 December 2019

Irish teachers 'among best paid in the world' - OECD

Despite the salary cuts of recent years, their salaries remain  among  the highest of more  than 30 countries worldwide.
Despite the salary cuts of recent years, their salaries remain  among  the highest of more  than 30 countries worldwide.
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Irish teachers are among the best paid in the world.

Despite the salary cuts of recent years, their salaries remain among the highest of more than 30 countries worldwide.

The annual Education at a Glance  report from the international think tank, the OECD,  shows that Irish primary teachers are sixth in the world in pay terms, while, at second-level, they are in seventh position.

The international comparison  is base don salaries  in the 2012 year and the report notes that  teacher salaries in a number o f countries, including Ireland, were significantly affected by the 2008 economic crisis.

In the interests of transparency between currencies and living costs, converts salaries using a  measure based on purchasing power in different countries.

Using this measure, the salaries of Irish teachers at the top of the pay scale is given as the equivalent of  €48,430, compared with an EU average of about €35,500 and an OECD average of €36,415

Luxembourg tops the pay league for both primary and second-level teachers, with salaries in excess of the euro equivalent of  €90,000.

Other countries ahead of Ireland at primary level are Korea, Switzerland, Germany and Austria, while at second--level  Belgium is also on the list .

The report also shows that,  at 915 hours a year  Irish primary teachers  spend more time in the classroom that many others.  The Irish 915 hours compares with an EU average of 768  and an OECD average of 794.

At 183 days, the Irish primary school years is slightly ahead of the EU average of 182 and slightly behind the OECD average of 185.

However, at second level, the 167 day academic year is well below the 180-day EU average and the 183-day OECD average.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) said while teachers in Ireland appeared to earn above average salaries, primary teacher salary costs are off set in Ireland by larger classes and the fact that teachers teach for 20pc longer than primary teacher in other EU countries.

The union said  the report did not capture the pension levy imposed on Irish public servants in March 2009, nor  did the figures include the pay cuts imposed by the government under the Haddington Road agreement.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI)  said  the report  highlighted that teachers in Ireland were  81pc  of the salary of workers with similar education levels in Ireland, compared with  an OECD average at upper secondary of 92pc.

“Even then, it must be borne in mind that this is based on those lucky enough to have full hours, and we would estimate that up to half of teachers under 35 are on contracts of less than full hours. In actual fact, many Irish teachers on part time hours do not earn a living wage” said TUI general secretary John MacGabhann .

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