Supply (substitute) teachers in Kifri demand to be either given a contract of employment or their wages raised, otherwise they say they will boycott teaching.
The demands were announced during a protest today (13 September 2020) in front of the Kifri Education Department.
Amira Hameed, who has been a supply teacher for four years, told KirkukNow: “We have been demanding our rights for many years, but no one is listening to us. It is our right to be hired or given a contract.”
She says the government should at least raise their wage to 400,000 to 50,000 Dinars ($330 to $420) per month.
Supply teachers get paid per class 4000 Dinars ($3.30) if they are college graduates and 3000 Dinars ($2.50) if they are a graduate of an institute. Some only make 88,000 Dinars ($74) per month.
Regular teachers and other civil servants also have their salaries slashed by 21% and they get paid only once in a few months. The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) excuse for the delays and slashing of their salaries is the financial crisis, low price of crude oil, and its disputes with the Federal Government over its share of the national budget.
Ahmad Hamza, who represents the supply teachers in Kifri, told KirkukNow: “If they are not able to hire us [as regular teachers] or give us contracts, then they should raise our wages to 400,000 to 500,000 Dinars per month.
If they don’t listen to us and don’t meet our demands, we will keep protesting.”
There are more than 200 supply teachers in Kifri District. They fill the gap that exists due to the short number of regular teachers.
Muhammad Shukur, the head of Kifri Education Department, tol KirkukNow: “The supply teachers fill the gap of lack of teachers. If it wasn’t for them, we would be forced to close down the schools in the villages and subdistrict centres. This, while the amount they are being paid isn’t even enough to pay for their transportation costs.”
Shukur supports the supply teachers in their demands and thinks that their contribution is essential since up to 40 teachers get themselves transferred and leave the region every year.
“Conditions in Kifri are not good. People are leaving Kifri due to law wages, delays in wage payments, financial crisis, the Coronavirus pandemic and the ISIS war. This has led to a decrease in the number of teachers.”
Shukurk continued: “Meeting their demands is not in our hands.” But he promised the supply teachers to convey their demands to the Ministry of Education.