Extra-curricular load of the most loyal part of the Belarusian society

April 22, 2016 17:44

School teachers, not having the advantages of the civil servants, have an important functional load in maintaining of the existing system of government. Regardless of being one of the least paid, teachers are the most loyal to the government.

Teachers make the majority of members of the electoral commissions, and generally ensure the smoothness of the election campaign. Teachers also make the base-level of the country’s ideological vertical.

School teachers are also responsible for extracurricular activities of students - tutoring, clubs, festivals, round table discussions, quizzes, tournaments, contests, etc. For their extra-curricular jobs teachers usually receive a monetary compensation equivalent of 3-5 hours of work which obviously does not compensate for their efforts. Moreover, extra-curricular responsibilities of teachers are directed by the educational departments, which provide teachers with concrete work-plans. In rural areas teachers are as well responsible for organization of seasonal agricultural works of students and they are not paid overtime.

Depending on a school and a region sometimes teachers are forces to take part in the events and volunteer for the “Red Cross”, “Belaya Rus” and other organizations.

 Teachers are also obliged to visit socially disadvantaged families (if any) of their students on a regular basis, which is not always safe.

Another example of mandatory, cumbersome, and even humiliating extracurricular load for any teacher is the so-called “education for all”, a campaign aimed to assess the density of the population in the upcoming school year, which is held twice a year. Teachers are obliged to visit all houses assigned to them in a region to count the number of school-age and preschool-age children. Teachers are also obliged to visit socially disadvantaged families (if any) of their students on a regular basis, which is not always safe.

Moreover, the teaching process itself is highly bureaucratized – it requires drafting of numerous training plans and reports, constantly monitored by education officials.

This versatile load goes far beyond de jure duties of teachers and their remuneration is always lower than other categories of workers (with the exception of agriculture and cultural workers). This results in a high staff turnover in schools and in the outflow of qualified experts. The real average monthly salary of the majority of teachers is around Br 1.5-1.7 million (appr. USD 170-210).

Nevertheless, teachers remain a class the most loyal to the government.

Brest region

For several years in the past in the beginning of every school year, Brest district executive departments for education set tasks on implementation of a so-called extra-budgetary activities plan, i.e. teaching staff of a school had to earn a certain amount of money a year. For instance, teachers could set up paid additional classes for students or organize hobby groups or provide other paid services.

Moreover, teachers have to prove the functionality of the core classes by taking part in various competitions, exhibitions, festivals, organized by local educational departments free of charge sometimes during school hours and sometimes on weekends and holidays.

Sometimes, usually in rural areas, when teachers could not fulfill the tasks set by the plan, they jointly collected own money to comply with it as it had direct affect on their bonuses paid by the government.

Schools also offer their facilities for rent: weddings, anniversaries, etc could be organized in school cafeterias for a fee and school computer classes charge for playing computer games.

Sometimes, usually in rural areas, when teachers could not fulfill the tasks set by the plan, they jointly collected own money to comply with it as it had direct affect on their bonuses paid by the government.

Proceeds from extra-budgetary activities are credited to a special account of local executive committees of the departments for education and subsequently used to purchase various supplies and equipment (eg: refilling of cartridges and copiers), as well as for subscriptions to departmental publications. Head of the department for education is the fund manager of this account. Sometimes these funds are used to pay for schools that did not earn extra-budgetary money.

Recently tax authorities started visiting schools to tell teachers about inadmissibility of tutoring students outside schools for a fee without proper registration and payment of taxes.

Gomel region

Secondary schools in the Gomel region were not fully staffed by the beginning of the school year, in particular, in rural areas and areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster. In January - August 2011 the higher staff turnover was in the educational sphere.

 About a quarter of young professionals leave their jobs in these regions after completing job placement terms for graduates.

The situation is compounded by the reluctance of graduates and teachers to work in areas contaminated with radionuclide after the Chernobyl accident. About a quarter of young professionals leave their jobs in these regions after completing job placement terms for graduates.

A particular extracurricular load of physical education teachers in the Gomel region is an obligation to provide paid services to the local residents, eg rent a gym, pool, etc. As a rule they are not paid overtime for doing this.

Minsk region

In the Minsk region teachers are obliged to convince parents of students to buy text books, due to the fact that libraries do not provide with 100% coverage. Class-teachers also obliged to ensure that parents reimburse for school property damages caused by students.

Teachers are also encouraged to subscribe to the state media by school administration, heads of teachers’ unions, trade unions, etc.

Teachers are also encouraged to subscribe to the state media by school administration, heads of teachers’ unions, trade unions, etc. These same “trusted” people tend to engage in the work of election commissions during the elections.

Recently, during an “education for all” campaign, one of the young teachers of Borisov School No 13 was seriously bitten by a dog. She had to undergo a treatment in the trauma ward.

Vitebsk region

Vitebsk teachers recently have been obliged to visit sporting events at the Ice Palace, or “Dynamo” spot complex. School children are also often brought to various arenas to create an impression of mass attendance of sporting events, sometimes instead of classes. As a rule, teachers have to pay for transportation of students to sports facilities out of own pockets. Local authorities annually provide teachers with a list of museums and exhibitions obligatory for a visit during the school year.

Teachers are forced to visit parents of their students and to convince them to subscribe to state media or to make a flu vaccine shots.

Local authorities annually provide teachers with a list of museums and exhibitions obligatory for a visit during the school year.

Another kind of extracurricular activities in the region are weekly “class hours” and “an hour of information”, which sometimes take place on Saturdays.