SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced at the Principals' Appointment Ceremony Friday that principals and teachers will get higher pay packages starting April 2008.
Under a new initiative called Grow 2.0, the annual package of good performing teachers will be increased by up to 12%, while that for better performers will be increased by up to 18%.
Costing the government S$380 million per year, this new pay and career package is aimed at making the teaching profession more attractive.
Under the new scheme, teachers will receive a one-off salary increment of up to four per cent.
They will also be placed on a salary range system with merit increments that are based on one's performance, potential and market wage movements. This will replace the current salary scale system with fixed annual increments.
Under the new initiative, there will be higher performance bonuses and sharper differentiation in payouts based on performance. Teachers will receive performance bonuses ranging from one month to 2.25 months.
And prior to the roll-out of the new scheme, a performance bonus top-up ranging from 0.5 month to 1.25 months will be given in March.
With the above changes, a classroom teacher with three years experience can see his or her annual pay package rise from S$52,000 to S$58,000. And for an outstanding performer, the new package can mean a jump from S$55,000 to S$65,000.
Minister for Education Tharman Shanmugaratnam said at the annual ceremony, "(Offering) competitive salaries (is) a necessary but not a sufficient condition... We have to ensure pay remains competitive at every level of the education service."
Besides better pay and bigger bonus, the new package will provide teachers with a more attractive remuneration package, more career and development opportunities and greater flexibility to balance the demands of work and family.
Currently, only female teachers can apply for no-pay childcare leave up to the child's third birthday. But under the new scheme, both male and female teachers can apply for no-pay childcare leave up to the child's fourth birthday.
Yew Tee Primary School teacher Sharul Hisham said, "With regards to work-life balance initiatives that have been announced by the minister, the teaching profession will be more attractive."
The new package will also enhance the financial support and leave schemes to enable more teachers to upgrade themselves.
Principal of Raffles Junior College Lim Lai Cheng welcomed the new initiative. "At the moment, we're facing challenges of students who are more exposed, who have a stronger hunger for knowledge within a subject area. If teachers can be experts in their areas, definitely (it) will help engage the students better."
In addition, more teachers can opt to teach part-time under the new scheme. And up to five more teacher posts will be given to each school cluster to support schools with teachers who are pursuing full-time postgraduate studies.
The ministry will also enhance its long-term incentive plan known as CONNECT Plan.
Under the current plan, teachers receive annual deposits throughout their career and can draw out a proportion of the money every three to five years.
The new package will bring up the total career deposits for CONNECT by about six per cent. Education officers can also draw out their full deposits after 30 years, instead of the current 40 years.
The ministry said it is targeting to have 30,000 teachers employed by 2010. Currently it has about 29,000.
This year, the resignation rate for teachers was three per cent, half a percentage point more than the previous year. - CNA/ac
May I ask, Why so many resigning?