MEK Iran: Free Teachers of Iran in Financial Dire Straits

Iranian teachers

Iranian teachers: the most vulnerable social class in Iran.

Many non-profit teachers in Iran earn less than 1 million Tomans, but even this paltry salary hasn’t been put into teachers’ bank accounts during the quarantine period of the Covid-19 outbreak.

As one free teacher exclaimed, “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 …”

Teachers in Eastern province of Kermanshah

It is estimated that there at least 200,000 of these non-profit teachers teaching in non-government controlled schools across the country. In one recent survey, over 65 percent of them said they had not received any kind of salary while schools were closed in March and April while the spread of the virus had caused closures everywhere.

How much are non-profit teachers paid normally?

There is no uniform policy about remuneration for these teachers, as technically they are outside the control of the government. They do not have the same rights as other teachers. Salaries vary. 28% of those surveyed earned less than 500,000 Tomans per month, 36% earned between 500,000 and 800,000 Tomans, 15% earned between 800,000 and1 million Tomans, 16% earned between 1 and 1.5 million Tomans and just 2% earned more than 2 million Tomans per month.

Many of these teachers, many of whom have been working for years in the non-profit sector, are not insured, or only have a few days insurance to keep them going when laid off in periods like quarantine.

Iran: Teacher’s strike

One teacher who had been working as a free teacher in an elementary school, Reyhaneh Salek, explained the predicament that she and many of her fellow non-profit teachers were in. This teacher won the first place at the Creativity Festival in her school, feels the pain of her financial woes. She has been fighting for recognition of the rights of free teachers in Iran through the media. This is what she said:

“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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