Make teaching more attractive, says OECD

20 Jun 19

Countries must make the teaching profession more attractive to meet a growing demand across the world for high-quality education.

An OECD report, released on Wednesday, has said that much still needs to be done to give teachers better opportunities to prepare students for changing labour markets – with little more than half receiving training in the use of technology for teaching.

An independent educational think-tank in England said the detailed findings provide stark evidence of a workforce “under strain” due to long working hours and excessive workloads.

Launching the report in Paris, OECD deputy secretary-general Ludger Schuknecht said: “The acceleration of technological, economic and social changes makes it imperative that our education systems adapt almost in real time.

“Policy makers should work closely with teachers and school leaders and leverage their expertise to help students succeed in the future world of work.”

The report Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners provides detailed insights into the concerns of teachers and the daily challenges they face across the world.

It indicates that only just over half of teachers (56%) surveyed across the OECD received training in the use of ICT for teaching as part of their formal education or training.

ICT training is lowest in Sweden (37%) and Spain (38%) and most common in Chile (77%) and Mexico (77%).

About 18% of teachers across the OECD still express a high need for professional development in ICT skills for teaching, and one in four school leaders report a shortage and inadequacy of digital technology as a hindrance to providing quality instruction.

The report is based on the OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) among about 260,000 teachers at 15,000 schools from 48 countries.

The survey indicates that while much still needs to be done to give teachers better opportunities, schools are recognising the crucial role played by innovative teaching in responding to the challenges of the 21st century.

Two thirds of teachers report that the most useful professional development they took part in focused on innovation in their teaching.

The Education Policy Institute in the UK pointed to detailed figures for England in the TALIS data that indicate teachers are bearing a high burden.

James Zuccollo, the EPI’s Director for School Workforce, said an increasing number of teachers believe their working hours are becoming unsustainable and 57% of secondary school teachers have reported that their workload is unmanageable.

He said: “Today’s stark findings provide further evidence of a teaching workforce under strain.  

“In spite of the government’s efforts over the last few years, there has been no reduction in teachers’ workload, with the working hours of teachers in secondary schools now standing at almost 50 per week.

“This marks England out as having one of the highest levels of teacher workload out of all OECD nations.”

  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

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