The Global Status of Teachers

How much a society respects their teachers says a lot about how much they value education. That’s why the Varkey Foundation’s Global teacher Status Index is important. It not only shows which countries most repeat teachers but also helps to predict student outcome encase societies which value teachers also value students and education.

In 2013, the Varkey Foundation conducted the first Global Teacher Status Index to try and establish where teachers were most treasured. This showed that across all the countries reviewed, teachers occupied a mid-ranking of status, with teachers recording the highest status in China, and lowest in Israel and Brazil. Teachers were most commonly thought to be similar to social workers in terms of status.

Five years on, this work presents an updated analysis to build on the results. And again Asian countries showed the most respect for the profession of teaching.

This survey sought to identify the level of respect for teachers in different countries and their social standing. They examined: the profile of teacher respect; teaching as a sought-after profession; a contextual understanding of teachers’ social status; views on pupil respect for teachers. These data are summarised below. We then developed an index or ranking of teacher status by country.

The growth of internationally comparative student assessment measures such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and the annual publication of the OECDs annual Education at a Glance, provides a global perspective of how children perform on comparable educational tests across many countries of the world. Understanding how this performance relates to the competence and effectiveness of teachers has been much debated – with the now famous aphorism that “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers”.

But what is much less well understood within discussions of the roles of the teacher in improving pupil outcomes are the roles that social standing, or status, play in the position of teachers in each country, and how these might impact on education systems and pupil results? That research will come as they continue to look at the status of teachers.