A survey found that at least 40 regions have a deficit of educators for subjects like math, Russian, and foreign languages
Nearly half of Russian regions are experiencing major teacher shortages, a new survey conducted by the RBK news agency has found. The outlet said it surveyed 85 regions across the country and received responses from 40 of them.
According to the results, the highest demand is for mathematics teachers, as 35 regions, or 88% of those that responded, said they did not have enough educators for the subject.
Some 31 regions said they did not have enough Russian language teachers, 29 regions reported a shortage of English and foreign language teachers, 24 regions did not have enough literature teachers, and 21 needed primary school educators. Another 13 regions said they lacked physics teachers.
The Ministry of Education, as well as Sverdlovsk Region’s Youth Policy, explained to RBK that the increased demand for teachers is due to the fact that most educators are often young women who, at some point, decide to either continue their education or go on maternity leave.
Additionally, the ministry pointed out that university graduates who train to become teachers also have a wide choice of other related professions, such as journalism, public relations, information technology, and others.
Some regions, like the Republic of Dagestan, suggested that low wages may explain the labor shortage. Moscow’s Department of Education told RBK that the average monthly salary of teachers has more than tripled from 38 thousand rubles ($400) in 2010 to over 132 thousand rubles ($1,400) in the first half of 2023. However, other regions typically have much lower pay.
For example, the average pay of teachers in Kurgan Region in the first half of this year was only about 41 thousand rubles ($440) per month, even when considering additional benefits or opportunities for overtime. In Sverdlovsk Region, the average monthly salary was about 52 thousand rubles ($558).
The State Duma Committee on Regional Policy has indicated that Russian regions may not have enough money to increase salaries for teachers and doctors in 2024. However, the Ministry of Finance has said it plans to include additional funds in the 2024-2026 federal budget to help regions combat inflation and raise wages for public sector employees.
The Ministry of Education, for its part, maintains that the understaffing situation is well managed, asserting that the number of vacant positions in the education sector stands at just around 1% of the total, equivalent to approximately 11,000 open jobs. The ministry further emphasized that teaching teams typically operate fully staffed, and there is a growing influx of young specialists entering the field.
As for salaries, the ministry said that the responsibility for adequately compensating teachers fell upon local governments but noted that it nevertheless maintains authority over these bodies and that it monitors their work to ensure all teacher salaries are paid out.
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