Teacher pay in South Africa

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP26/2010

Author(s): Servaas van der Berg, Rulof Burger

JEL Classification: J31, J45, I22

Keywords: teacher pay, wages, labour market, incentives

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The role of teachers in achieving good quality education is universally acknowledged. What is less clear is what incentives are required to attract good teachers to teaching. Incentives, including teachers pay, need to be sufficient yet, in the light of fiscal resource constraints, not excessive. This paper deals with the issue of teacher pay in South Africa before the introduction of the recent Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) for teachers, that was intended to offer more attractive lifetime incentives to teachers in order to attract quality teachers. The paper first reviews the literature on teacher pay internationally and for South Africa, before using recent South African household surveys to empirically compare the wage received by teachers to that received by non-teachers with a similar level of education.