The salary increase applied since July to public sector workers in Cuba has encouraged the return of more than 8,000 teachers to the classrooms next school year, partially reducing the island’s chronic deficit of educators.
The new additions will allow the Cuban State to cover 95% of the national demand for teachers, a coverage that is 3% higher than last year, according to data from the Ministry of Education. Minister of Education Ena Elsa Velázquez this Thursday announced the preparations for the new 2019/20 school year.
Next September 2, about 10,700 educational institutions in Cuba will open for the new school year, in which there will be more than 1.7 million students in the classrooms, the minister affirmed to the state media, without specifying the total number of teachers.
A great deal of the reinstated teachers are retired professionals who, in addition to continuing to receive their pensions, will receive the new payment system, whereby the minimum monthly salaries will increase from 225 Cuban pesos (equivalent to about 9.3 dollars) to 400 (16.6 dollars).
The salary increase, decreed by the government last June and effective since July, increases the average income of public sector workers from 767 Cuban pesos (about 30.6 dollars) to 1,067 pesos (44.4 dollars) and the maximum salaries will increase up to 3,000 pesos (about 125 dollars).
Compared to Cuba’s economic inefficiency, the shortage of products and other endemic problems, the island considers universal and free access to education and health as two of the main achievements of the Revolution that triumphed in 1959, although economic problems have also had an impact on these sectors.
In recent years, the education sector has faced serious obstacles such as a deficit of teachers, decreasing class quality and deteriorating infrastructure.
Low wages and lack of benefits have so far been among the main reasons for the exodus of state employees to the island’s emerging private sector, where freelancers and employees generally receive higher pay and in convertible currency in sectors mainly dedicated to tourism and hospitality.