Teachers to get pay increase of between 5% and 10% from Oct 1

Salaries for teachers and allied educators were last reviewed in 2015. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - About 35,000 teachers will get a pay hike of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent from Oct 1 as part of efforts to attract and retain talent. 

The pay increase will also apply to about 1,600 allied educators and 800 pre-school teachers in Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens.

In a statement on Tuesday (Aug 16), MOE said: “This is to ensure that their overall salary packages remain competitive, and so that MOE can continue to attract and retain good educators.” 

Salaries for teachers and allied educators were last reviewed in 2015. 

Starting salaries for teachers now range from $2,810 to $3,650, according to the MOE website. 

MOE on Tuesday said it will also create a new grade from 2023 to enable teachers who do not hold key personnel appointments, such as subject head or senior teacher, to progress in their careers.

If such teachers are performing well, and have hit the maximum salary point at the General Education Officer (GEO) 5 grade, they will be able to rise to a new GEO 5A grade and benefit from a higher salary ceiling.

Currently, teachers who do not hold key personnel positions typically continue as classroom teachers up to the GEO 5 grade, while those who do can be promoted to the Senior Education Officer (SEO) grades.

The new GEO 5A grade will be between GEO 5 and SEO 1 grades.

MOE will also from 2023 enhance a 30-year retention plan for teachers known as the Connect Plan, which gives payouts for those who remain in service for a certain number of years.

Under the scheme, MOE each year sets aside between  $3,200 and $8,320 – the amount is pegged to the length of service.

Teachers collect a payout every three to five years. 

On Tuesday, MOE said the sum deposited each year as well as the payout will go up over 30 years – translating into a 20 per cent increase.

Mr Mike Thiruman, general secretary of the Singapore Teachers’ Union, welcomed the pay hike and changes to career schemes for teachers.

He said: “A lot of feedback was given to MOE about the overall package for teachers, especially those who hit the ceiling of GEO 5 and are not in leadership positions.

“These are typically more mature teachers who have been in service for 15 or more years and who want to remain classroom teachers.” 

The salary increase will also help to signal that teachers’ contributions are valued, said Mr Thiruman. 

He said: “It’s necessary but not sufficient – the real deal is how they’re treated at the school level, the pressure of the workload, whether they have work-life balance. All that must be also addressed.” 

Mr Thiruman added that the pay hike was in line with the pay revision for civil servants.

Remote video URL

In June, the Public Service Division (PSD) said about 23,000 civil servants are expected to get a pay rise of between 5 per cent and 14 per cent from Aug 1 this year.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing, who on Tuesday posted about the pay increase on his Facebook page, had said in July that the MOE was working with the PSD on the salary review. 

A 28-year-old secondary school teacher, who is in her fourth year of service, said: “The increment doesn’t translate into very large amounts for junior teachers like me, but any increase is good and most of us are happy.

“What’s good is that the Connect Plan will be increased too, as it could help teachers to consider staying on for their payouts.” 

A 32-year-old junior college teacher said: “The salary rise is good – while it is not going to match the pay in the private sector, it narrows the gap at least. I don’t think most teachers join for money, so this is a good gesture anyway.

“The creation of GEO 5A is especially surprising and nice. I think it recognises that not all teachers want to take up appointments, but are still valued and can continue to progress on the salary scale.” 

A 40-year-old secondary school teacher, who has been teaching for 15 years, said: “We are in this line not for the money, so getting more is a bonus for us. It’s very encouraging that we are being remembered... The past two years have been tough for us.”

Mr Patrick Tay, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said the pay increments will help ensure teachers’ remuneration remains competitive, but that this alone is not enough.

“Other areas such as career progression, learning and development opportunities as well as the work environment – good supervisors, supportive colleagues and understanding parents of students – all play a part to attract and retain our educators.”

More can be done for educators’ mental well-being, including those who teach students with special needs and pre-schoolers, he said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.