Global Teacher Status Index 2018 shows first direct link between teacher status and pupil performance

Global education charity the Varkey Foundation today launches the Global Teacher Status Index (GTSI) 2018 – the follow up to the GTSI 2013 and the most comprehensive study ever of how society views teachers across 35 countries around the world.

GLOBAL REPORT MAKES FIRST PROVEN LINK BETWEEN THE STATUS OF TEACHERS AND PUPIL PERFORMANCE

GLOBAL PUBLIC ALSO THINK TEACHERS ARE UNDERPAID AND UNDERESTIMATE THEIR WORKING HOURS, BUT TEACHER STATUS IS RISING ACROSS THE WORLD, ACCORDING TO NEW SURVEY

Global education charity the Varkey Foundation today launches the Global Teacher Status Index (GTSI) 2018 – the follow up to the GTSI 2013 and the most comprehensive study ever of how society views teachers across 35 countries around the world

  • The Global Teacher Status Index 2018 shows for the very first time that there is a direct link between teacher status and pupil performance as measured by PISA scores. Countries which have higher teacher status are more likely to record higher PISA scores. This new finding for the 2018 Index shows that high teacher status is not just a nice to have – increasing it is likely, all things being equal, to lead to greater student outcomes in that country.
  • In 28 of the 35 countries surveyed in 2018, teachers are being paid less than the amount people consider to be a fair wage for the job. The only countries in which teachers are being paid more than the amount people consider fair for the job are Finland, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Singapore.
  • In all but six countries of the 35 countries polled in 2018, the general public underestimates – often considerably – the number of hours teachers work per week. Latin Americans underestimate teachers’ working hours more than any other, particularly in Peru (by 13 hours), Argentina (by 12.5 hours) and Panama (11.4 hours). In both the UK and the US, the public underestimated teachers’ working hours by around five hours per week.
  • Teacher status is rising globally. Of the 21 countries polled in 2013 and again in 2018, 13 have seen their teacher status score increase. The biggest increases were seen in Japan (which rose from 17th placed out of the 21 countries polled in 2013 to 11th of 21 in 2018) and Switzerland (15th of 21 in 2013 and 8th out of 21 now).
  • Out of the 35 countries polled in 2018, the Asian nations of China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea and India rank higher in terms of teacher status than every European country and every Western nation - including the US, New Zealand and Canada. South Americans accord teachers lower status than any other region. Every South American nation polled ranked in the bottom half of the survey, with Brazil coming bottom and Argentina fifth from bottom.
  • Support for performance related pay has fallen precipitously across the world. Every single country polled in 2013 and again in 2018 reports (often considerably) lower support for teachers being paid according to the results of their pupils now than they did five years ago. In Finland, 80% of people surveyed in 2013 supported performance related pay, but this has fallen to 21% today, while in the UK 74% supported performance related pay five years ago, compared with 34% now. 
  • People’s confidence in their own country’s education system is increasing around the world. In 17 of the 21 countries surveyed in both 2013 and 2018 people rate their national education system higher now than they did five years ago.

The Global Teacher Status Index 2018 shows for the very first time that there is a direct link between teacher status and pupil performance as measured by PISA scores. Countries which have higher teacher status are more likely to record higher PISA scores. This new finding for the 2018 Index shows that high teacher status is not just a nice to have – increasing it is likely, all things being equal, to lead to greater student outcomes in that country.

These findings are among those published today by global education charity the Varkey Foundation. They are based on in-depth opinion polling and analysis by Professor Peter Dolton and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research of over 35,000 adults aged 16-64 and over 5,500 additional serving teachers across 35 countries. The Global Teacher Status Index (GTSI) 2018 is the most comprehensive study ever of teacher respect around the world. It follows on from and expands upon the first GTSI which surveyed 21 countries in 2013 and inspired the Global Teacher Prize.

The survey also found that in 28 of the 35 countries surveyed in 2018, teachers are being paid less than the amount people consider to be a fair wage for the job. The only countries in which teachers are being paid more than the amount people consider fair for the job are Finland, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Singapore.

While the public in most countries do not believe teachers are being paid fairly, people also tend to underestimate how hard they are working. In all but six countries of the 35 countries polled in 2018, the general public underestimates – often considerably - the number of hours teachers work per week. Latin Americans underestimate teachers’ working hours more than any other, particularly in Peru (by 13 hours), Argentina (by 12.5 hours) and Panama (11.4 hours). These were followed by Egypt, Brazil, Malaysia, Chile and Colombia. In both the UK and the US, the public underestimated teachers’ working hours by around five hours per week. The only countries in which teachers report working fewer hours than the general public thinks they do are Canada, Finland, China, Indonesia, Uganda and Japan.

However, the survey revealed that teacher status is rising globally. Of the 21 countries polled in 2013 and again in 2018, 13 have seen their teacher status score increase, while seven have seen it fall and one, China, continues to have the highest score possible. The biggest increases were seen in Japan (which rose from 17th place out of the 21 countries polled in 2013 to 11th of 21 in 2018) and Switzerland (15th of 21 in 2013 and 8th out of 21 now), while the biggest drops were seen in Greece (2nd out of 21 in 2013 down to 6th of 21 now) and Egypt (6th of 21 in 2013 down to 12th of 21 now).

Out of the 35 countries polled in 2018, the Asian nations of China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea and India rank higher in terms of teacher status than every European country and every Western nation - including the US, New Zealand and Canada. South Americans accord teachers lower status than any other region. Every South American nation polled ranked in the bottom half of the survey, with Brazil coming bottom and Argentina fifth from bottom.

The GTSI 2018 also reveals that support for performance related pay has fallen precipitously across the world. Every single country polled in 2013 and again in 2018 reports (often considerably) lower support for teachers being paid according to the results of their pupils now than they did five years ago. In Finland, 80% of people surveyed in 2013 supported performance related pay, but this has fallen to 21% today, while in the UK 74% supported performance related pay five years ago, compared with 34% now. Support for performance related pay is generally higher in emerging and lower income countries than in more established economies.

As the status of teachers has generally risen around the world, so too has public confidence in their own country’s education system. In 17 of the 21 countries surveyed in both 2013 and 2018 people rate their national education system higher now than they did five years ago. The only countries where confidence in education has fallen since they were last polled are Egypt, Brazil, Turkey and Japan. Japan is unusual as a country that scores highly in PISA and yet reports low public confidence in its education system.

 

Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Varkey Foundation, said:

“This index finally gives academic proof to something that we’ve always instinctively known:  the link between the status of teachers in society and the performance of children in school.  Now we can say beyond doubt that respecting teachers isn’t only an important moral duty – it’s essential for a country’s educational outcomes.

"When we conducted the Global Teacher Status Index five years ago we were alarmed by the weight of evidence pointing to the low status of teachers around the world.  It was this that inspired us to create the Global Teacher Prize, which shines a light on the extraordinary work that teachers do around the world.

“It’s heartening that since the first Global Teacher Status Index there has been a modest rise in the status of teachers globally. But there is still a mountain to climb before teachers everywhere are given the respect they deserve. After all, they’re responsible for shaping the future”.

 

KEY FINDINGS – INTERNATIONAL:

  • The Global Teacher Status Index 2018 shows for the very first time that there is a direct link between teacher status and pupil performance as measured by PISA scores. Countries which have higher teacher status are more likely to record higher PISA scores. This new finding for the 2018 Index shows that high teacher status is not just a nice to have – increasing it is likely, all things being equal, to lead to greater student outcomes in that country.

 

  • Overall, teacher status is rising globally. Of the 21 countries polled in 2013 and again in 2018, 13 have seen their teacher status score increase, while 7 have seen it fall and one, China, continues to have the highest score possible. The biggest increases were seen in Japan (which rose from 17th place out of the 21 countries polled in 2013 to 11th of 21 in 2018) and Switzerland (15th of 21 in 2013 and 8th out of 21 now), while the biggest drops were seen in Greece (2nd out of 21 in 2013 down to 6th of 21 now) and Egypt (6th of 21 in 2013 down to 12th of 21 now).

 

  • Out of the 35 countries polled in 2018, the Asian nations of China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea and India rank higher in terms of teacher status than every European country and every Western nation - including the US, New Zealand and Canada. South Americans accord teachers lower status than any other region. Every South American nation polled ranked in the bottom half of the survey, with Brazil coming bottom and Argentina fifth from bottom.

 

  • In 28 of the 35 countries surveyed in 2018, teachers are being paid less than the amount people consider to be a fair wage for the job. The only countries in which teachers are being paid more than the amount people consider fair for the job are Finland, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Singapore.

 

  • In all but six countries of the 35 countries polled in 2018, the general public underestimates – often considerably - the number of hours teachers work per week. Latin Americans underestimate teachers’ working hours more than any other, particularly in Peru (by 13 hours), Argentina (by 12.5 hours) and Panama (11.4 hours). These were followed by Egypt, Brazil, Malaysia, Chile and Colombia. In both the UK and the US, the public underestimated teachers’ working hours by around five hours per week. The only countries in which teachers report working fewer hours than the general public thinks they do are Canada, Finland, China, Indonesia, Uganda and Japan.

 

  • Support for performance related pay has fallen precipitously across the world. Every single country polled in 2013 and again in 2018 reports (often considerably) lower support for teachers being paid according to the results of their pupils now than they did five years ago. In Finland, 80% of people surveyed in 2013 supported performance related pay, but this has fallen to 21% today, while in the UK 74% supported performance related pay five years ago, compared with 34% now. Support for performance related pay is generally higher in emerging and lower income countries than in more established economies.

 

  • People’s confidence in their own country’s education system is increasing around the world. In 17 of the 21 countries surveyed in both 2013 and 2018 people rate their national education system higher now than they did five years ago. The only countries where confidence in education has fallen since they were last polled are Egypt, Brazil, Turkey and Japan. Japan is unusual as a country that scores highly in PISA and yet reports low public confidence in its education system.

 

  • In the majority of countries (13 out of 21) surveyed in both 2013 and 2018, more people would encourage their children to become teachers now than five years ago. Only in the UK, Japan, New Zealand, Egypt, Singapore, Turkey, Greece, and Korea would fewer people encourage their children to become teachers in 2018 than in 2013. There are huge disparities across the countries polled on whether people would encourage their children to be teachers. While 54% in India said they would encourage their child to become a teacher, only 6% would do so in Russia. Generally, countries with a higher respect for teachers are more likely to encourage their child to enter the profession.

 

  • In China 81% of respondents believe that pupils respect teachers, compared with an average of 36% across the survey of 35 countries polled in 2018. Across Europe and Latin America there are generally higher levels of pessimism about students’ respect for teachers than in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In most of the European countries surveyed, more respondents thought that pupils disrespect teachers than respect them.

 

  • Over half of the countries (18 of 35) surveyed in 2018 judge the professional status of teachers to be most similar to that of social workers. Ten countries consider the most similar profession to teachers to be librarians. Three countries say the most similar profession to teachers are doctors - China, Russia and Malaysia. This is an increase from 2013 when China was the only country that said teachers were most similar to doctors.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. For press enquiries please contact xxx at Apollo Strategic Communications or call xxx.
  2. The Varkey Foundation believes every child deserves a vibrant, stimulating learning environment that awakens and supports their full potential. We believe nothing is more important to achieving this than the passion and quality of teachers. We support global teaching capacity and seed excellence and innovation in the next generation of educators. In response to the first GTSI in 2013, we founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world. https://www.varkeyfoundation.org
  3. The Varkey Foundation partnered with Peter Dolton, Oscar Marcenaro, Robert De Vries, Po-Wen She and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) to produce the GTSI. Professor Dolton also conducted the original GTSI in 2013, which found significant differences in status among teachers worldwide and that in many countries, between a third and half of people would “probably” or “definitely not” encourage their children to enter the teaching profession.
  4. NIESR aims to promote, through quantitative and qualitative research, a deeper understanding of the interaction of economic and social forces that affect people's lives, and the ways in which policies can improve them.
  5. A 35-country survey was conducted from 1,000 representative respondents in each of the countries. This included the 21 countries of the original GTSI from 2013, namely:  Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, USA.  It also added 14 new countries, namely: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Panama, Peru, Russia, Taiwan, Uganda. These countries were chosen on their performance in PISA and TIMSS assessments to represent each major continent and as representative of different strands of education systems. It was deemed important to compose a sample in line with the relevant proportions in the population. This was done by careful consultation of the available country-specific population census information. Quota sampling with balancing was used to survey respondents using from 16 to 64-year–olds, which had sample fractions according to their: age, gender and region. The data for this study was collected by the polling company Populus using a web-based survey.  In addition, a sub sample of 200 teachers were polled in almost all of the 35 territories, to allow both for exploration between teachers’ assessment of their status between countries, and also teachers against the general public within each country.