Government raises teachers’ wages
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A Cabinet meeting was held today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
The Government decided to allocate AMD 1,665,675 thousand to the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia with a view to raising teachers’ salaries by 10% as of this September 1. The amount will be earmarked from the State budget’s tax receipts for 2019. Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Arayik Harutyunyan advised that the proposed wage increase was originally projected for next year, but it proved possible as early as from this September 1.
Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that a fundamental goal in this process is to ensure proper qualification of teachers at schools and improve the services provided: “This is an important task, because we must be sure that teachers have the necessary professional skills, and we similarly must keep in focus the need to boost wages in order to solve the problem. And we also need a mechanism to understand how these decisions affect the quality of public education and the skills of our teachers. Indeed, we do not consider this growth to be revolutionary, but, on the other hand, this is the beginning of a process that will continue if we are to create the right mechanisms for quality checkups.”
The Cabinet next decided to assist the victims of the events of March 1-2, 2008 in Yerevan. In accordance with the decision, 720 million drams shall be allocated from the Government’s reserve fund to the Ministry of Justice. The assistance will be provided in the form of one-time assistance: compensation to the legal successors of those killed as a result of the events of March 1-2, 2008 will amount to 30 million drams, to persons who have suffered serious damage to their health - 15 million drams, and for moderate injuries - 5 million drams.
“In the meantime, I would like to reiterate that this is just support rather than compensation. My position is that, in the light of the well-known circumstances, we must decide on compensation based on decisions taken by the European Court of Human Rights. I specifically emphasize this, since it is a well-known fact that I myself am related to the events of March 1-2, and it is extremely important that decisions be made as objectively as possible.
However, since we do not know when the European Court of Human Rights will decide on this issue, and in order to take interim measures to support the victims of March 1 events, we are now taking this decision on the basis of the law adopted by the National Assembly. As a result, we will eventually resolve the problem of compensation following the ECHR’s ruling; I mean the amount of compensation that we have to pay. To avoid any subjective perceptions or possible misinterpretations of the amount of compensation, it would be right if we could get an impulse from the ECHR and make a decision in accordance with international standards. This is an interim decision, the further status of which will be clear on the basis of decisions taken by the ECHR.”
Another decision was passed to allocate 176 million drams to the Ministry of Justice for the overhaul of prisons. The decision is supposed to help improve the conditions of detention of convicted and detained persons in penitentiary institutions.
The Government approved the proposal to sign a free trade zone agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and its member states, on the one hand, and the Republic of Serbia, on the other hand. The meeting next approved Amendment N13 to the assistance arrangement between the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Government of United States of America, referred to as “More Competitive and Diversified Private Sector” and Amendment N8 to the cooperation agreement on promoting more inclusive, efficient and accountable governance in Armenia. In particular, the draft amendment N13 as proposed by the United States Agency for International Development envisages additional funding of USD 3.7 million, which will be used to finance programs implemented by USAID in the areas of developing competitiveness and private sector infrastructures.
As a result, the total amount of grants provided by the American side under the More Competitive and Diversified Private Sector support program will rise to USD 84,404,406.36.