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Iran’s Forgotten Teachers

Iran’s teachers are on strike due to their miserable living conditions and low wages. (Archive)

“If we are expelled from school for any reason, it must have been their right and it must have been our right. If we are not invited to teach next year, it must have been their right and it must have been our right … Sometimes, I wonder why we, as a ‘non-profit teacher’ who, based on the school’s trust, families have given their children to us, are not recognized anywhere …”

These are the pains of a nonprofit schoolteacher who has been affected by the Coronavirus’ bad times in Iran. It is a bit strange, but some non-profit schools have not given quarantine salaries to their teachers, most of whom receive less than ‘one million tomans.’

By a survey of a cyberspace group for non-profit schoolteachers, the teachers were asked to say whether they had received a salary for March. Some 65 percent announced that no money had been transferred to their account for March and, of course, April from the school where they taught. This means that their lives are now in more trouble.

200,000 nonprofit teachers?

Naturally, when there is no ministry, institution, or association that recognizes you, there is certainly no official figure for you, but some media outlets have already reported on the activities of 200,000 free teachers in schools and non-governmental centers.

Teachers who, despite their significant number, do not have the minimum legal rights. How painful it is when you realize that a teacher’s monthly salary in a non-profit school without insurance or just insurance for a few days a month is only 600,000-900,000 Tomans, and of course some receive more than one million, which is a small number.

How much are they get paid?

By another question from the same group whose members are non-profit free teachers, they were asked, what was the amount of their salary in the 2019-2020 academic year?

The answers are a bit strange, note:

  • Less than 500,000 Tomans per month – 28 percent
  • 500,000 to 800,000 Tomans – 36 percent
  • 800 to one million Tomans – 15 percent
  • One million to 1.5 million Tomans – 16 percent
  • More than 2 million Tomans – 2 percent

The question here is, where is the ‘poverty line’ in these numbers. The situation of the teachers is very painful, a teacher with 15 years of teaching experience in a nonprofit school who has been ignored by the school, or another teacher with 10 years of experience who has many applicants each year due to the quality of his or her education, but who does not have insurance or minimum legal fees.

These are a few words from one of these teachers. Reyhaneh Salek has been teaching at the elementary school for six years, and this year she won first place at the Creativity Festival in her workplace. She is in pain, and for some time now, in addition to her work, she has been pursuing the rights of free teachers through the media:

“Many of my colleagues with salaries below one million tomans are working honestly and lovingly in non-profit schools and due to financial incapacity, they are insured only for a few days of the month, and this has caused them to lose their unemployment insurance in times such as the coronavirus era.

“Why isn’t there an organization or institution that hears us? Why does education ignore us when it can use the same teachers in its recruitment? For example, 20,000 new teachers will be added to education this year as officials could take advantage of the capacity hidden in non-profit schools that have borne the brunt of the training, but we see many of these teachers, which have pure motives, creativity, and special abilities, but are easily ignored.”


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