9.2 CONDITIONS OF SERVICE FOR TEACHERS WORKING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOL EDUCATION
•1 Planning policy
There is no centralized or local level planning policy for teachers in early childhood and school education. In the ECEC sector as well as in the school sector the Principals prepare a plan for employment for each year according to the needs of the ECEC institution or the school (Law for Child Protection, Law for Primary Schools, Law for Secondary Schools).
•2 Entry to the profession
The teachers in ECEC and school education as well as the core practitioners in ECEC are employed via open recruitment. Each ECEC institution and each school has a final say in the employment of staff. In the ECEC the Principal appoints the staff, but a three member Committee ranks the candidates through analysis of the qualifications and other materials and an interview (Law for Child Protection). In the school sector the Principal appoints the teachers following a public recruitment advertisement and upon suggestion of the School Board (Law for Teachers and Professional Support Staff in Primary and Secondary Schools). In general in both sectors candidates should have appropriate education, hold the country citizenship (with certain exemptions in primary and secondary schools), have knowledge of the Macedonian language as well as any other languages of instruction as appropriate. In the ECEC sector the staff should also be physically and mentally healthy and have clear criminal record.
In the ECEC sector the entry to the profession for teachers and core staff is stipulated in Article 136 of the Law for Child Protection. The teachers are called educators and they enter the profession as educator apprentice with a minimum of 240 ECTS as ECEC teachers or pedagogues and educators licence for ECEC. The professional support staff (psychologist, pedagogue, special educator etc) enter the profession as apprentice professional support staff with 240 ECTS in their respective area and licence to work in ECEC. The other professional staff (music educators, art educators etc) enter the profession as apprentices with 240 ECTS in their respective area and licence for ECEC. The support staff can enter the profession with upper secondary diploma and ECEC licence. The licences are regulated by the Law and a special Bylaw that stipulates 40 hours of training and successful passing of an exam to obtain a licence. The apprenticeship for all categories has a duration of one year and in that period the apprentices work in close collaboration with a mentor.
In the school education the entry to the profession is regulated by the Law for Teachers and Professional Support Staff in Primary and Secondary Schools. A teacher enters the profession as teacher apprentice with a minimum of 240 ECTS. The teachers need to have a teaching degree (in concurrent education or from teacher training institutions) or a degree in their respective scientific area and a Pedagogical, Psychological and Methodological preparation from an accredited higher educational institution (in consecutive model). In certain cases in Vocational Upper Secondary schools (for specific vocational subjects) teachers can enter the profession with ISCED 5 qualifications or 180 ECTS and a Pedagogical, Psychological and Methodological preparation from a certified institution (in consecutive model).
In both the ECEC sector and the school education the teachers and core staff enter the profession as apprentices. The apprenticeship lasts for one year.
In ECEC sector all staff work in close collaboration with a mentor for a year. The Mentor prepares a program for induction and after one year the Mentor and the Apprentice sign a statement for the realization of the goals of the program. After that the Apprentice has an exam in front of a three member Committee. If the apprentice does not realize the goals of the program or does not pass the exam the employment is terminated. Upon successful completion of the program and passing of the exam the apprentice advances to the next level when funding is secured for the position (Law for Child Protection Article 142).
In the School sector the induction is regulated as apprenticeship according to the Law for Teachers and Professional Support Staff in Primary and Secondary Schools. During the one year apprenticeship the apprentice works in close collaboration with a Mentor to gain the basic professional competences and get prepared for a professional exam. The Principal assigns the mentor to the teacher and the mentor should be with a professional status Teacher Mentor. If no such profile exists within the school than a teacher with at least 7 years of experience can be appointed as mentor. The same procedure and conditions apply for professional support staff. The Mentor prepares a program for induction, follows the apprentice and prepares a report at the end of the apprenticeship. The apprentice then has to pass an exam at the State Exam Centre. If the results are not satisfactory of either the report by the mentor of the professional exam the apprentice can be granted additional six months of apprenticeship with the same or another mentor. If the results of both activities are positive than the apprentice receives a Certificate for successful passing of the professional exam. The mentor can work with maximum two apprentices at the same time. The mentor receives 10% of the projected full salary of the apprentice for the duration of the apprenticeship.
•4 Professional status
The professional status of teachers and core staff in both ECEC sector and school education is employees in the public sector- providers of public services.
The teachers as well as the core staff in ECEC sector can have temporary or permanent contracts regardless of whether they work part-time or full-time. The temporary contracts can be transformed into permanent ones with the approval of the Ministry for Labor and Social Policy. The teacher as well as core staff (professional support staff) in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education can be employed on temporary or permanent contracts. The apprentices sign temporary contract with the school for a period of one year. After that they sign a contract as teachers which are temporary and get renewed every school year. After two years of experience the teachers can be given permanent contracts subject to certain conditions: two years of experience, secured funding for the position in the school (either by being placed on an emptied position or being placed in a new position that will not become obsolete); approval by the MOeS for transformation of the position. The proposal for transformation is sent to a three member Committee for transformation formed by each municipality with a mandate of three years. The Collective agreements for primary and secondary education signed between MoES and the Union propose a transformation of the temporary contracts to permanent contracts for those teachers with 5 years of work experience. Teachers can sign full-time or part-time permanent contract with a school. Those with part-time contracts can sign temporary part-time contracts with other schools with working hours of both contracts up to the legal maximum.
All employees in the ECEC sector should respect the Code of Conduct published by the Ministry for Labor and Social Policy. The Code prescribes the main principles of the conduct of the staff in relation to: the society, the children, the profession, the parents and the other employees. Such Code of Conduct is not centralized for the school education. The School Board of each school prescribes its own Ethical Code for the teachers and professional support staff.
•5 Replacement measures
The temporary replacement of teachers are partially regulated by appropriate Laws.
In the ECEC sector the temporary replacement measures are undertaken by each institution based on the needs of the institution.
In the school education according to the Law for Teachers and Professional Support staff, the replacement of teachers (due to longer illness, retirement, transfer, dismissal or death) the replacement is with public announcement on a fixed-time contract until the end of the school year. The replacement teacher can have a three-month contract if the employment is done without a public announcement and with a previous approval of the Mayor or the Minister. The replacement of teachers for shorter periods of time is coordinated by each school.
•6 Supporting measures
The supporting measures for teachers are not much regulated in the country, except for the part of the quality of provided service to the children and pupils.
In the ECEC sector the support measures are prescribed to the staff that show unacceptable results in the annual evaluation. The unacceptable results are shown by those who: fail to achieve the prescribed goals, do not show professionalism and competency, make mistakes, have poor time management or have consistent low quality of work. The staff receives an official letter about the need for corrections and a plan is drafted with additional trainings and mentorship for the next year.
In the school sector the supporting measures for teachers are tied to supporting teachers who do not show acceptable results in the evaluation or who break the standards of professional conduct (Article 19). Additional help is given to teacher who: cannot maintain discipline, do not use effective methods of teaching and communication with pupils and parents, do not follow and asses pupils achievement. The program for support is proposed by the professional development team within the school and approved by BDE. The program lasts for 6 months and is monitored by the Principal who informs the School Board every three months about the progress. If the program is not followed successfully then disciplinary procedures might follow. In addition, the teacher might get supported professional development if they fail to realize their plan for professional development. In this case they get a more experienced teacher to help them with planning of their development.
In both sectors the salary of the employees is regulated by a point-system and coefficients that is tied to the complexity of the job done and prescribed by the appropriate Laws (Law for Child Protection for ECEC) and Collective Agreements with the Teachers’ Union (Collective Agreement for public institutions for care and education of children and institutions of recreation of children; Collective Agreement for primary education and Collective Agreement for secondary education) as well as Agreements with the Teachers’ Union for the value of the points in each sector.
In the ECEC sector the lowest salary for teachers is 37313 denars gross salary or 25022 net salary. Apprentice teachers receive lower salary during their apprentice year. For the core staff (care staff) working with children the starting salary is 27882 denars gross salary or 18911 net salary. The salary is calculated on monthly basis and is regulated by a point-system. The lowest points from the care staff are given to the employees providing care for the children (employed with secondary school degrees) and start at 190 for apprentices (for the first year of employment) and 240 for those with licence. For teachers the lowest points are 204 (for apprentice teacher) and 255 for teachers. The points are higher for upper levels on the career progression scale. According to the collective Agreement the salary of the staff can be higher based on: levels of education and years of service. There is also salary addition for shift work, night work and overtime. Bonuses can be given to staff who have a grade 4,51 to 5 on their annual evaluation (the value of the bonus is at least one third of a monthly salary, paid leave or non-material bonus). In addition, for each year of service staff is given a salary higher by 0.50% for each year of service for a maximum of 20% on top of the starting salary for the appropriate career level.
In primary and secondary education the salary is again regulated on monthly basis and is calculated based on coefficient of complexity and lowest salary in the sector. In the primary education the gross salary for teachers is 36942,00 denars or net salary of 24.761,00 denars (apprentice teachers have lower salaries for the year when they are apprentice teachers). In secondary education the gross salary is 35.064,00 denars or net salary 23.679 denars (apprentice teachers have lower salaries for the year when they are apprentice teachers). In both primary and secondary education the collective agreements define the lowest salary for the sector (which is set at 20.996,00 denars gross salary for primary education and 17.943,00 denars for secondary education). Then there are coefficients according to the complexity levels that define the starting salary. The coefficients also regulate the complexity level of different groups of staff. The teachers in primary education have a complexity coefficient of 2,292 for apprentice teacher and 2,503 for teacher. The coefficients are higher for teachers working in school for pupils with disability (2,443 for apprentice teachers and 2,683 for teachers) and those teachers working in regular school but working with pupils with disability have higher complexity coefficient by 0,120. The coefficients are higher for those in the upper part of the career progression (higher coefficients for teacher-mentors and teacher advisors). The teachers in secondary education have a complexity coefficient of 2,319 for apprentice teachers and 2,533 for teachers. The coefficients are higher for staff working in school for pupils with disability (2,472 for apprentice teachers and 2,717 for teachers) and those teachers working in regular school but working with pupils with disability have higher complexity coefficient by 0,123. In both Collective Agreements higher salary is given for upper career levels (higher coefficients are given for teacher-mentor and teacher-advisor). In addition, higher salary can be given for teacher who are exceptional in their work (0,90 for primary and 0,092 for secondary) and highly exceptional in their work (0,180 for primary and 0,184 for secondary); higher coefficients are given to teachers who are in charge of a class and in primary education higher coefficients are given to teachers working in difficult conditions (schools located in mountains). In addition, for each year of service staff is given a salary higher by 0.50% for each year of service for a maximum of 20% on top of the starting salary for the appropriate career level. Teachers with exceptional results can receive a bonus from the municipality or the MoES (the School Board makes the proposal).
The gross and net annual salaries of teachers in ECEC and school education in Euros can be found on the following link: file:///C:/Users/Hp/Documents/Miscellanous/Evridika%202021/Dokumenti/Eurydice%20salaries%202018%202019.pdf.
•8 Working time and holidays
In both ECEC and school education the teachers and core staff the working hours are capped at 40 hours per week for full-time contracts. However in each sector the time dedicated to various duties is different.
In the ECEC sector the 40 hour work week is split between direct work with children and other duties related to the program activities. The teachers spend 30 hours in direct work with children and 10 hours in other duties and the support staff spend 35 hours with the children and 5 hours in other duties.
In the school sector the teachers with full-time contracts also have 40 hours work week. Within that the teachers need to have 20 to 23 teaching hours (45 minutes is classified as one teaching hour. During the COVID-19 pandemic the teaching hour is 3 minutes for physical presence classes and 35 minutes for distance learning classes regulated with a special Bylaw). In addition, each teacher is obliged to have 5 hours of direct work with the pupils for remedial learning or for stimulating advanced pupils. The rest of the work week is used for planning and other duties prescribed by the Law for Teachers and Professional support staff.
The employees in both ECEC and school education are entitled to a minimum of 20 working days and a maximum of 26 working days paid vacation (as regulated by the: Labor Law and Collective Agreements for ECEC sector, Primary Education and Secondary Education). The length of he paid vacation is contingent upon the: length of employment (1 extra day for each 10 years of experience), the complexity of the work, working conditions, age (women above 57 and men above 59 years get 3 extra days) and workers health (workers with disability get 3 extra days). In addition to the paid vacation days the teachers and other core staff are entitled to a maximum of 7 days paid leave in one calendar year for various reasons: marriage, marriage of a child, birth or adoption of a child, death in the family, exams for CPD or other purposes, relocation, induction exams, divorce etc. In addition in the school sector half of the winter holiday is paid vacation for the teachers and professional support staff and they are not counted as part of the vacation.
•9 Promotion, advancement
The career levels for both ECEC and the school sector are defined by the appropriate Laws (Law for Child Protection and Law for Teachers and Professional Support staff).
In the ECEC sector the advancement is along three levels: teachers, teacher-mentor, teacher-advisor. The same levels apply for the core practitioners as well. The career advancement is dependent upon duration of employment. The teacher mentors need to have at least three years of work experience and the teacher advisors at least 5 years of work experience. Having satisfactory evaluation record (yearly evaluation above 4 on a scale 1 to 5 for the past year) is also a condition for promotion. The same conditions apply for other core practitioners.
In the school sector as regulated by the Law for Teachers and Professional support staff there is a three tier promotion for teachers and professional support staff, contingent upon both duration of employment and fulfilment of professional standards for promotion. The career development of teachers in this sector will start to be implemented in the 2022. For the teachers there are three levels: teacher, teacher mentor and teacher advisor. The professional standards for advancement in another career level are prescribed by the Bylaw for professional standards for teacher-mentor and teacher-advisor and Bylaw for standards for career development. The number of teachers to be promoted to teacher-mentor and teacher-advisor are announced each year by the municipality of the city of Skopje. Teachers can be promoted to teacher mentors if they have permanent contract, at least seven years of experience and satisfy the professional standards for the level. Teachers can be promoted to teacher advisor if they have at least 9 years of work experience and at least 3 years of experience as teacher mentors and satisfy the professional standards of the level. The advancement is decided after a public announcement where teachers apply for the position with appropriate documentation of their employment and their professional achievement in line with the standards. Until 2022 the duties of the teacher-mentor can be done by a teacher with at least 7 years of experience. The career levels and the conditions for promotion apply for the Professional Support Staff (the Bylaw for professional standards for professional support staff-mentor and professional support staff-advisor).
•10 Mobility and transfers
In the ECEC sector empty positions can be filled internally (to enable career progression) or with transfer from a different institution contingent upon previous approval of the Ministry and municipality.
In the school sector teachers can be transferred to an empty position in another school with secured funding for the position without public announcement for a maximum of three months and with prior approval of the Mayor of the municipality for municipal school or approval from the Minister for state owned schools. In all other cases the teachers apply for an empty position based on public announcement and go through the regular selection procedure.
In both ECEC and the school sector the dismissals are regulated by appropriate Laws and the procedure is regulated by the appropriate Laws and Collective Agreements.
For teachers and core professionals in the ECEC sector the Law for Child Protection prescribes a number of conditions upon which the staff can be dismissed. The first one is by a personal choice. The second reason is by Law, which is contingent upon reasons like: losing the working capacity, losing the citizenship of the country, being indicted for criminal activity, being jailed for more than 6 months, unexcused truancy for more than 3 days in a month and other administrative reasons. Staff can also be dismissed if their work evaluation is not satisfactory twice in consecutive years or at least three times in the last five years.
For teachers in school education (Law for Teachers and Professional support staff), the dismissal is based on low evaluation results, serious breaking of the professional code of conduct (prescribed by the Minister on suggestion of the BDE). The procedure can commence upon request of the BDE, SEI, the School Board. Prior to the dismissal a Committee is formed to evaluate the reasons for the teacher’s behaviour. If the reasons are not related to the organization of the work of the school, but related to aspects of the work like keeping the discipline, using effective communication methods and appropriate methods for pupil assessment, then the teacher gets additional professional help. The programme for additional help is prepared by the team for professional development in close relation with the BDE. If the teachers’ work does not improve and the teacher does not follow the program then the Principal upon request from the School Board dismisses the teacher. The teacher can also be dismissed by refusal to get a clearance by a Physicians committee for health related issues (mental or other illness or circumstances that might pose danger to the self or the environment). Teachers can also be dismissed if their positions are no longer needed due to technical or business reasons, but only if certain conditions of the Collective agreement are met.
•12 Retirement and pensions
The staff in the ECEC and school sector retire according to conditions prescribed in the Law for Pensions and disability insurance. According to the Law the males retire at the age of 64 and females retire at the age of 62 and they have to have at least 15 years of employment for a full pension. Teachers can retire early on disability grounds with a lower pension.