Sunday, July 2, 2017

Pay differences

Huge pay differences at Russian universities
By Stephen Wilson

MOSCOW -- When Maria Koroleva, a Russian academic once attempted to persuade graduates from Moscow State University to pursue a doctorate she was met with a bemused stare which seemed to say : "And how would I feed myself never mind pay high
fees?" Undertaking a post graduate course without adequate state support seems
like a futile feat even for the most-talented students. Even if the course is completed,
jobs as academics still remain largely low paid not to mention entailing a bigger workload
due to increasing red tape. As in the West, attaining an academic career appears to
be a distant dream, or rather nightmare, depending how you look at things ! This is because
the long sought for dream of working as an academic can turn into a stressful headache.
You are no longer an academic but administrator in a hostile environment fraught with
petty office politics.

When Putin gave a long public question and answer forum to journalists and the people
he received many complaints about under or low pay . He acknowledged that violations
in pay had taken place and that the teachers in question should send a letter of complaint
to wage inspectors and other officials. But the scale of the complaints encompassing either
delayed salaries or blatant underpayment indicates the state's promise to increase by
100- 200% the salaries of teachers and doctors from 2012 has a long way to go. This
is because of widespread corruption within schools and universities as well as the absence
of an effective mechanism to take effective legal action against the culprits.

Only yesterday I was informed of how head teachers and administrative staff asked one
school teacher to open an account which would allow them to make illicit transfers which
concealed the level of payments allowing some head teachers to unfairly receive more
income than other teachers who would obtain far less.

Corruption concerning unfair pay is not new. One of the demands of the Bolsheviks was that the salary of an elected official should not be higher than the average salary of a skilled worker. Lenin was startled to discover that someone had raised his salary without his permission and that when he protested about it no action was taken ! Later on the salary of an official was not allowed to exceed two or three times the wage of a worker. In current times, the salary of a university lecturer should not exceed five times the amount of a university teacher. Alas, it blatantly does ! A rector's salary amounts to twenty times the salary of a university teacher at a time when universities are short of staff. Even a shortage of staff can be a blessing for some head teachers who take over the hours of two or three redundant teachers, make the minimum effort and attain a huge windfall.

The huge discrepancy of pay between rectors and teachers partly explains why the latter are so low paid ! For instance , Vladimir Litvinenko the Rector of Saint Petersburg Gorni University obtains a lavish annual salary of 195.7 million rubles and Anton Torkunov, rector of Moscow State Institute of International Relations receives an annual salary of 31.9 million rubles.

Compare this with the salary of a teacher at Institutes of Further Education who receives 55,000 rubles a year { ROSSTATA 2016} In many cases in the provinces, the salary of a rector can be 40 times the pittance of a teacher.You could fund whole faculties with the income a rector receives!

In many cases those rectors are so smug they don't even conceal their salaries ! On the
contrary they boast about them and show off their wealth. When they hear that some
wealthy managers in the West modestly conceal their wealth , go to work by tram and wear
informal clothes they are shocked by this. They think that flaunting their wealth boosts their
image rather than provokes people. Most of those rectors view an institute as a lucrative
business where they can rent out offices of the universities and pocket the money.
Irina Kantorovich states, "The reason for impoverished teachers was the new system of
paid labor introduced in 2008." She states that this system allows the management of such
institutes to decide which teacher should be paid the most and who should take the lion's share of the pay and increments. She has gathered a petition of 50,000 signatures calling for a much more accountable and decent pay system where payment is based on fair play and not caprice.

She has a hard job ahead of her! The government , rather than taking the bull by the horns
simply tells frustrated teachers to send a complaint to either an official in the Department of
Education or a wage inspector! Meanwhile rectors continue to draw staggering salaries as if
there were no tomorrow!

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