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Latest TALIS results: Singapore teachers least experienced, have the biggest class size

EdChron Desk on July 16, 2014 - 4:13 am in Asia, EdNews, MAIN, World


The latest TALIS results have been released in June this year, and as we’ve stated in an earlier article, many teachers felt teaching is an undervalued, unsupported and under-appreciated profession.

The TALIS (Teaching and Learning International Survey) conducted by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) aims to develop a high-quality teaching profession through understanding who the teachers are and how they work. More than 100,000 teachers and school leaders at lower secondary level (for students aged 11-16) in 34 countries and economies took part in the OECD survey.

You may view the full database and survey questionnaire here.

Asian data

Asian countries surveyed (Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore) indicated close to the country average, with several country-specific data of interest:

  • Japan has the least number of female teachers at 39%; the country average is 68.1% and in all other countries surveyed, the majority of teachers are female.
  • 99.8% of teachers in Malaysia are on permanent contract; the country average is 82.5%.
  • All Asian countries surveyed have more than 95% of teachers employed full-time; the country average is 82.4%. In contrast, less than 50% of teachers in Mexico, Brazil and the Netherlands are full-time educators.
  • All Asian countries have an average class size of more than 30 students. The country average is 24.1. Singapore has the largest class size at 35.5 students on average.
  • Singapore also has the biggest school size at 1251.4 students on average. The country average is 546.4 students.
  • The country average age of teachers was 42.9. Teachers in Malaysia averaged 38.9 years old, while Singapore teachers are the youngest at 36 years of age on average.
  • Malaysian teachers have an average of 13.4 years of teaching experience. Singapore teachers have the least, at 9.7 years of experience. 99.1% of Singapore teachers have relevant teacher education or training, the 2nd highest percentage (Poland has 99.4% trained teachers).
  • All 4 Asian countries spend the most time on paperwork – between 5.3 hours a week (Singapore) to 6 hours (Korea). The country average is 4.9 hours a week.
  • Teachers in Singapore and Malaysia spend 17.1 hours a week teaching. The country average is 19.3 hours a week.
  • They weekly spend 5.3 (Singapore) and 5.5 hours (Malaysia) on administrative work, 3.4 (SG) and 4.9 hours (MY) on extra curricular activities.
  • Singapore teachers spend a lot of time marking – 8.7 hours a week. Only Portugal topped this at 9.6 hours. The country average is 4.9 hours.

Attracting the best teachers

“We need to attract the best and brightest to join the profession. Teachers are the key in today’s knowledge economy, where a good education is an essential foundation for every child’s future success,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills, launching the survey in Tokyo.

“This survey provides strong evidence that teachers are open to change and keen to learn and develop throughout their careers. At the same time, they need to take more initiative to work with colleagues and school leaders, and take advantage of every opportunity for professional development.”


Compare your country’s survey results below, or read the full report here. If you are viewing on mobile, click fullscreen (below) or view in landscape orientation.



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  • July 16, 2014

    I’ve worked in Asia for many years and I agree – the classes here are quite big in public schools. And yes, teachers have lots of training opportunities.

    James H. Field
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