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Tajik Teachers Quit To Protest Wage Arrears

The Khatlon Education Department's budget deficit is apparently the main reason for the delay in paying teachers' salaries.
QURGHONTEPPA, Tajikistan -- The nonpayment of teacher salaries in southern Tajikistan has led to criminal charges being made, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The General-Prosecutor's Office in Khatlon Province has opened some 20 criminal cases in connection with wage arrears that have caused some teachers to quit their jobs in desperation.

Amirali Muhammadali, Khatlon's labor-monitoring office representative, told RFE/RL on August 30 that it is not clear how many months of salaries have gone unpaid and how many teachers will fail to show up on the first day of school on September 1.

Muhammadali added that the main reason for the delay in paying teacher salaries is the Khatlon Education Department's budget deficit.

Meroj Ikromov, a teacher in Khatlon's Muminobod district, said a teacher's salary is not enough to live on even when it is paid on time. He said the mounting arrears have forced him to look for another job.

Official statistics show that some 400 teachers in Khatlon quit last year. There are currently about 1,000 vacant teaching positions in the region.

Khatlon Education Department deputy head Nurali Azizov said usually young teachers quit because their salary is low and officials fail to give them a plot of land to build a house, as has been promised to teachers.

He said only 50 teachers were allocated land plots last year, while some 2,000 are still waiting to receive them.