GALI, DFWatch–Here in Gali, southeastern Abkhazia, the school teachers are the only group of ethnic Georgians that the breakaway authorities don’t demand formal documents from in order to be allowed to work, several teachers told DFWatch.
As part of our series of reports, DFWatch attempted to gage the real salary levels among school teachers in this predominantly ethnic Georgian part of the breakaway region. The teachers we spoke to said the pay is ‘relatively normal’.
Teachers are classified by their merits and experience and receive differentiated remuneration.
First to fourth grades’ teachers have the following salaries:
- The highest category, which is paid 652 Russian rubles (USD 11.60) per hour;
- First category is paid 619 rubles (USD 11.00);
- Second category’s remuneration is 586 rubles (USD 10.40),
- Teachers not in any category get 550 rubles (USD 9.80), and
- Teachers with technical education – 519 rubles (USD 9.20).
Fifth to eleventh grades’ teachers are similarly distributed, but receive a little more.
- The highest category gets 783 Russian rubles (USD 13.90) per hour;
- First category’s remuneration amounts to 743 rubles (USD 13.20);
- Second category is paid 703 rubles (USD 12.50);
- Teachers not in any category get 660 rubles (USD 11.70); and,
- Teachers with technical education receive 623 rubles USD 11.10).
A teacher at the Georgian school here told DFWatch, “overall the salary is relatively normal.” The Abkhaz side has to work with specialists with Georgian education, because they do not have the appropriate base of teachers who graduated from Sokhumi high schools.
“The [school] teachers, I think, are the only privileged group whom the Abkhaz side doesn’t ask for Abkhazian documents. We have had teachers even living across the Enguri [river]. It is true that they are not really happy having teachers with Georgian education, but they do not have the appropriate base yet. [Sokhumi de facto government] coerced teachers to graduate special 4-year colleges, and then two-year retraining courses to conduct lessons in Russian but they actually can’t manage to replace teachers with Georgian education,” the teacher said.
Additionally, teachers at Georgian schools receive a bonus from the Georgian government twice a year, amounting to 780 GEL (USD 311).
In conversation with DFWatch, teachers say that Abkhazian de facto authorities sometimes arbitrarily change both their work hours and wage in their contract, so the actual salary is different from what it says in the documents.