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Resistance grows to merit-pay proposals

JAPAN

Japan's teachers are heading for conflict with local education authorities over plans to introduce performance-related pay and teacher evaluation to state schools.

Education experts say PRP - expected to be worth an additional 10 to 20 per cent of salary - is inevitable given the heightened competition for an ever-shrinking pool of students. It is already widespread in the private sector.

However, teachers' unions are vehemently against it and critics say such a scheme is doomed to failure.

Last year the education ministry asked local authorities to work out how to evaluate teachers. From this spring they are expected to introduce individual evaluation and reward systems.

A ministry report suggests teachers would be rated by ability and enthusiasm, as well as by their popularity among students and parents. Principals could also visit classes as part of the assessment, the report said.

Teachers qualifying for the pay rises are likely to include both those who are excellent in the classroom and those who have significantly contributed to extra-curricular activities. Teachers who have restored order to violent or undisciplined classrooms will also be rewarded.

A spokesman for the Tokyo teachers' unions said PRP schemes will not be welcomed by their members and are unworkable. "Merit-based schemes will only prove divisive and lead to confusion among parents and teachers," he said.

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