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Singapore teachers work longer hours, but get more support: OECD survey

SINGAPORE — Teachers here work generally longer hours compared to their international counterparts, but they are also supported with more professional development opportunities and mentorship by more experienced teachers, an international survey on the teaching force has found.

SINGAPORE — Teachers here work generally longer hours compared to their international counterparts, but they are also supported with more professional development opportunities and mentorship by more experienced teachers, an international survey on the teaching force has found.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Teaching and Learning International Survey found that Singapore teachers spend 48 hours on average working every week, of which more than ten hours are spent on non-teaching related activities like CCAs, counselling and communication with parents. For teachers overseas, the international average was 38 hours, with about seven hours spent on non-teaching related work.

Teachers’ reported working hours per week and distribution of time spent in the classroom during an average lesson. Source: OECD

Among all participating economies, Singapore was also found to have the youngest teaching force, with an average age of 36 years old. However, almost all new teachers here have formal induction programmes in their schools, as compared to just 44 per cent in all participating education systems.

This is the first time Singapore is taking part in this study, alongside 33 other education systems in countries like Finland and Japan. In Singapore, some 3,109 lower secondary teachers from 159 schools are involved in this study.

The findings showed that close to nine in ten (88 per cent) of teachers said they are satisfied with their job – the international average being 91 per cent. Singapore also had the second highest proportion of teachers who felt that the teaching profession is valued here.

Singapore has the highest proportion of teachers serving as mentors and the majority of mentor and mentee teachers teach the same subjects. Likewise, Singapore teachers have the highest participation rate in professional development with over 90 per cent saying that they have access to courses and workshops during their career.

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