Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Lukashenka: Teachers' pay should be raised by 25 percent

Alyaksey ALYAKSANDRAW, Naviny.by

The government should raise school teachers' pay by at least 25 percent, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said in Minsk on Thursday, speaking during a visit to a boarding school for hearing-impaired children.

If teachers see such a pay raise they will stop leaving schools and seek other, higher-paying jobs, he stressed.

"The government has made the step as agreed, so let's try to raise teachers' pay within a short period," the government's news agency BelTA quoted him as saying. He was referring to an August 31 Council of Ministers directive that introduced bonuses for teachers providing "additional educational services."

"But my first condition is that the education system should be completely right-sized, from the education ministry to the school, but not to children's detriment," Mr. Lukashenka stressed.

He described the job of school teachers as very interesting and said that teachers had "more freedom" than factory employees working eight hours every day.

"At school, even if you have four to five classes a day you still have more freedom for creative work and self-actualization, even despite exercise book checking and preparations [for classes]," he said.

Speaking in August, Mr. Lukashenka acknowledged that school teachers were underpaid in Belarus.

"The teacher has always been burdened with an arduous mission and teachers have never been rich," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka said that teachers, doctors and public servants played a key role in organizing elections but were not properly rewarded for "securing stability in our country."

School teachers were paid 510 rubels ($255) on average in July, compared with the country's average pay of 745.8 rubels ($370).