Turkey’s first comprehensive law defining the teaching profession came into force on Monday after Parliament approved it earlier this month. The law brings new titles for teachers that will be granted in parallel with pay raises.
It is the first time in the history of modern Turkey that teaching has been legally defined as “a career profession,” like health care or security jobs in the public sector. The law’s biggest novelty is dividing the career of teachers into three levels and providing extra income when each level is reached. Teachers will start the profession as “candidates” before subsequently achieving the title of “teacher,” “expert teacher” and “head teacher” based on the progress of their career.
Teaching is among the most popular professions in the country, though salaries have long been relatively low for those working in public schools. The government has worked to improve the financial state of teachers and the new law aims to address this issue.
Under the new law, teachers can apply for exams to earn the title of expert teacher if they have taught for at least 10 years, including their tenure as candidate teachers, attended at least 180 hours of training for expert teachers and have no history of offenses or disciplinary actions. Teachers will receive expert teacher certification if they earn a score of at least 70 points on the exam. Head teachers will be chosen among those who served at least 10 years as expert teachers. The law also allows teachers to skip the exams required for their next career step if they have graduated from post-graduate programs.
The law also provides a raise of up to 120% for head teachers and up to 60% for expert teachers in “education compensation,” an additional payment outside of salaries. Teachers are also included in regulations for other public sector professions boosting both their current salaries and future pensions.