San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Public school teachers to strike on Monday over salary delays

Some 7,000 elementary and high school teachers have not been paid since April 1 due to an administrative problem at the Education Ministry. That prompted leaders of teachers’ unions from  public schools on Friday to call for a general strike starting on Monday. 

Union leaders said on their websites and social media that “we’ve had enough of the lack of action” by Education Ministry (MEP) officials. They said some educators have not been paid since February.

Also on Friday, unions denounced that MEP’s human resources officials told hundreds of teachers they would have to wait until May 15 to receive their salaries.

The call for a strike was sent Friday evening by leaders of the National Association of Educators (ANDE), the Costa Rican Education Union (SEC) and the High School Teachers’ Association (APSE), following a meeting with Education Minister Leonardo Garnier that ended in a stalemate.

According to MEP, the problem was caused by a change in the electronic payment system, which caused a delay in the entry of data for each educator. Those whose personal data have not yet been entered into the system did not get paid.

Teachers mostly from schools in the capital demonstrated twice this week and marched along Paseo Colón, west of San José, demanding MEP resolve their situation. They also joined a May Day march on the capital’s Second Avenue on Thursday.

In a public statement APSE leaders said the strike would continue indefinitely until educators received their salaries.

Contact L. Arias at

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Ken Morris

The teachers are right about this issue–although it’s not a new issue. For years foul ups at the ministry of education have forced teachers to go without pay for months. This isn’t right, and there’s no excuse.

To the question of how much teachers get paid, the answer is potentially a lot (by local standards). Were the amount of the salary the issue, I’d be hesitant to support the teachers, since IMO some are overpaid. However, the issue here isn’t the amount of the salary but getting it in the first place.

Yes, I’m pretty sure that there is a uniform pay scale, although for all I know there may be local supplements or other variations. The most confusing parts are the seniority and part-time vs. full-time and overtime rules. A beginning teacher doesn’t earn a lot, like less than $1200 a month, plus often has to start out at half-time and/or take assignments in two schools at the same time. It’s not easy for them. However, with seniority (and advanced degrees) teachers rise in the pay scale, get more comfortable assignments, and often manage to work overtime. They can I think earn twice as much as a beginning teacher, which is quite a bit by local standards.

My hunch is that the salary structure could use some reform, since teachers are essentially rewarded for growing older regardless of how good of a job they do. I would also like to see more emphasis on class size and other aspects of the system that enable good teachers to do good jobs, rather than a system that focuses on money and rewards those who teach too much. However, these apparently aren’t the issues at stake in this strike.

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Michael Tomaino

What do teachers in Costa Rica get paid? Is pay for all teachers the same across the country? Do they have pay scales like we do in the USA?

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PLN have left a real mess shame. Now we will see if PAC has any balls.

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They need to stike its time. There is no money. Debt is really high ib Costa Rica. Expect issues on this strike. School could be out for 1 year.

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