Using international comparisons to inform debates on salaries for publicly paid educators in South Africa
This brief replicates UNESCO’s calculations, to determine whether South African teachers’ wages are comparable with those in Denmark. The level of teacher wages so determined was only USD71, which is similar to Japan and Italy, but even this seems unrealistically high. UNESCO uses purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates for converting teacher pay across countries to dollars – this is where the problem might be. As an alternative strategy to assess the adequacy of teacher pay in international comparison, we use teacher household assets instead of compensation as a proxy for teacher living standards. This results in findings which are considered to be plausible, as South Africa is then comparable with developing countries such as Botswana, Malaysia and Philippines.