CASI RESEARCH SEMINAR: Implementing a new salary structure in Bishkek schools: How reforms change schools and schools change reforms

CASI RESEARCH SEMINAR: Implementing a new salary structure in Bishkek schools: How reforms change schools and schools change reforms

February 10, 2016

February 10, 2016

Raisa Belyavina, PhD Candidate, Teachers College, Columbia University, CASI Visiting Scholar


To address the challenges of attracting new teachers to the profession and reducing highly overburdened teaching loads assigned to teachers, the Kyrgyz Republic implemented a new teacher salary structure in 2011, which eliminated the Soviet-era stavka system and replaced it with a workload system that is common around the world. The reform discarded the long-standing category compensation component that based remuneration on teachers’ years of service, and instituted a compensation formula taking into account teachers’ education level; the reform lifted the salary but capped the number of weekly teaching hours that teachers could take on; and finally, the reform replaced the semi-automated promotion system with a performance-based incentive pay structure with the goal of motivating teachers to improve the quality of their work.

While this reform followed a well-intentioned agenda and was positioned to align Kyrgyzstan with global education goals, what was not taken into account was the inadvertently deleterious impact the reform would have on schools and individuals. In my study, I look at the unintended consequences of this reform, particularly its impacts on senior teachers in the capital city of Bishkek, who found themselves to be the “losers” of the reform. My research examines not only how reforms change schools but also how schools change reforms that are deemed inequitable and incongruent within existing school contexts.

Short bio:

Raisa Belyavina is a PhD Candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her doctoral research focuses on teacher policies in Kyrgyzstan. Ms. Belyavina has worked on research around education quality, teacher recruitment and retention, and remuneration, including in Armenia, Belarus, and Kyrgyzstan, as well as in South Korea, and the United States. From 2010-2014, Ms. Belyavina was Senior Researcher Officer at the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York, where she managed a global project to track global student mobility and published research on the internationalization of higher education and investigated new trends in global education such as the rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Prior to IIE, Raisa was a Fulbright fellow and teacher in South Korea and worked in the education sector in the United States. Raisa has a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Literature from Columbia University and an M.A. and M.Phil in international education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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