Updated: 06/26/2014 02:18

Results of TALIS survey shows Singapore has youngest teachers, work longer hours than average

Results of TALIS survey shows Singapore has youngest teachers, work longer hours than average

Teachers in Singapore work about 10 hours more per week on average, compared to teachers from 33 other countries. 

But they're also satisfied with their jobs. 

That's according to the findings of a survey by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, conducted last year. 

The Teaching and Learning International Survey, or TALIS, examines issues like job satisfaction, professional growth and working conditions.

About 3,100 teachers and principals from about 160 secondary schools in Singapore were surveyed.

And they found that Singapore teachers work an average of 48 hours per week, compared to the TALIS average of 38 hours. 

This puts Singapore in joint second place with Canada's Alberta province, 

and after Japan, where teachers work an average of 54 hours per week. 

The Education Ministry's Deputy Director-General of Education for Curriculum, Wong Siew Hoong, attributes the longer working hours put in by Singapore teachers to their willingness to do the best they can for their students. 

"This is something that's indicative of a very committed workforce. We hope to be able to support them through providing them with more support in terms of allied educators, and providing them with work-life balance through proper use of their teaching hours."

And despite the longer than average working hours, the TALIS results do show that Singapore teachers are satisfied with their jobs. 

68 per cent of teachers here believe their profession is valued in society. 

That's more than double the TALIS average( 31 per cent).

It also found that at an average age of 36 years, Singapore has the youngest teaching force, compared to 43 years across all countries that took part in TA-LIS.

The Education Ministry attributes this to the aggressive recruitment drives they had in the last few years. 

This, says Mr Wong, can be considered a challenge that's also a strength. 

"They are versatile, they are dynamic, they are willing to learn, they are willing to commit themselves. Their relative lack of experience is something that we need to support with more professional development as well as more mentoring from the more experienced teachers."

And these young teachers are making a difference in the schools, according to Anglican High's Senior Staff Developer, Chan Chui Leng. 

"They want to try new things. This enthusiasm actually rubs off on the veteran teachers, to see them coming in with a lot of new ideas."

The TALIS results show that even though Singapore's teaching force is relatively young, they're also well-trained and mentored. 

nd almost all Singapore teachers take part in professional development activities. 

By Lianne Chia

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