Facts about teachers in 21 countries

1. The status of a head teacher is higher in the UK than in any of the other countries polled. 2. Parents in China, South Korea, Turkey and Egypt are most likely to give encouragement to children to become teachers. Whereas parents in Israel, Portugal, Brazil and Japan are least likely to provide positive encouragement. The UK scored in the middle.


1. The status of a head teacher is higher in the UK than in any of the other countries polled. 2. Parents in China, South Korea, Turkey and Egypt are most likely to give encouragement to children to become teachers. Whereas parents in Israel, Portugal, Brazil and Japan are least likely to provide positive encouragement. The UK scored in the middle.

3. Teacher salaries are at their highest in Singapore, with an average of $45,755 per annum. South Korea, US, Germany and Japan are all above $40,000. The UK is at $33,377.

4. People in 95 per cent of the countries polled support a higher salary for teachers than they currently earn. However, Japan, France and US judge that teacher pay is between 6 per cent and 55 per cent higher than is considered fair.

5. Across Europe there are higher levels of pessimism on students’ respect for teachers than in Asia and the Middle East. In China 75 per cent of respondents believe that students respect teachers, compared to an average of 27 per cent per country.

6. In all 21 countries, more than 59 per cent of people think teachers ought to be paid according to the performance of their pupils. The average across countries was 75 per cent.

7. Opinion was divided on the influence teaching unions have over teacher’s pay and conditions. In the UK, and in many European countries, the majority of people support unions having a greater influence. However, countries where there is the most recent history of teacher unrest – such as Japan, Greece, France and the US – believe unions have too much influence.

8. In the UK, the actual wage of teachers is lower than what people perceive to be fair. Respondents thought teachers ought to be awarded pay that is 15 per cent more than current teacher wages. Some 74 per cent of respondents thought teachers should be paid according to their pupils’ results.

9. Finland, Switzerland and Singapore have the most faith in their education system, and South Korea, Egypt and Japan have the least.

10. Teachers are given satisfactory or positive trust ratings in every country polled. The average trust rating is 6.3 out of 10 and no country gave a rating below five. Finland and Brazil have the most trust in their teachers. While Israel, South Korea, Egypt and Japan hold the least.

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