Iranian teachers are constantly having to protest over their poor living conditions, which are caused by low and unpaid salaries, which means they are denied the basic dignity they should be afforded.
Over the summer, part-time teachers retired teachers, and teachers with formal contracts have all held protest rallies where they demanded to be paid their wages, bonuses, and pensions.
This includes an October 12 rally by representatives of preschool teachers from all across the country, in front of the Education Ministry building in Tehran, where they protested against low payments and officials’ refusal to finalize their employment contracts.
In fact, teachers have been forced to sign new contracts where they effectively sign away their right to be paid because the contract states that by signing, they agree that they have received their owed salaries.
Part-time teachers have the worst conditions, given no medical insurance even after 15 years of service, which would be horrific at any time, let alone during a pandemic, when the Department of Education in Sabzevar, Khorasan province, admitted that up to 15,000 educational staff members in that city alone contracted Covid-19.
At the same time, part-time teachers are paid far less comparatively than employed teachers, with the state-run Hamshahri daily writing that part-time teachers with nearly two decades of experience are receiving four to five million rials per month ($14.45 to $18), with newer part-time teachers who hold Master’s degrees receiving just two million rials a month ($7.75).
By comparison, full-time teachers receive 30 million rials per month, which is still three times below the poverty line. The regime is forcing teachers to choose between this most-vital of professions and feeding their families.
Iranian teachers will not back down though. They are always voicing their concerns, chanting: “Decent life and dignity are our legitimate rights”. Over the past few years, teachers have voiced three major demands:
- Ending the oppressive policies
- Ending the discrimination
- Receiving their long-overdue wages
Of course, as with all issues in Iran, the regime is not able to fix the problems that Iranian teachers face nor does it want to. The teachers may rise, but the regime wants to retain the status quo. There is an “unbreakable deadlock” between the regime and the people, according to the Iranian Resistance.
“This is an impasse that places the regime before a very restive society as crises continue to mount while solutions are nowhere in sight,” they wrote.