Workload 'not commonly cited' as a reason for teacher resignations: Janil Puthucheary

Workload 'not commonly cited' as a reason for teacher resignations: Janil Puthucheary

Tuesday, 08 November 2016

SINGAPORE: Workload is “not commonly cited” as a reason for teachers leaving the service, said Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary on Monday (Nov 7).

Instead, the main reasons for resignations range from family considerations like childcare, to a desire for a change of job, he added, in response to a series of parliamentary questions filed by MPs on the topic.

Teacher resignation rates have remained low at around 2 to 3 per cent a year over the past decade, but on average, there is a slightly higher overall resignation rate of around 3 to 4 per cent a year over the first five years of a teacher’s service, said Dr Puthucheary, citing figures from MOE. There will also be an uptick in the resignation rate to about 5 per cent for teachers when their bond ends.

Training a teacher on the 12-month Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) at the National Institute of Education costs around S$23,000, and salaries are also paid to trainee teachers during their training. On average, teachers have been in service for 11 years.

 MOE has “consistently paid close attention” to teachers in ensuring that they are fairly remunerated, provided with developmental opportunities to grow their careers, and are taken care of in terms of their well-being, added the Minister of State.  

 For one, MOE regularly reviews teachers’ salaries to ensure they remain market-competitive. In the last salary review in October 2015, eligible teachers had a monthly salary increase of 4 to 9 per cent, he said.

 Teachers can also develop their careers by taking up leadership positions in schools and MOE headquarters, becoming teacher leaders, or take up senior specialist roles.

 Dr Puthucheary added that MOE is mindful of the high expectations of teachers, and has put in place measures to support and guide schools in work allocation. “Schools also regularly review work areas that can be stopped if they are no longer relevant or meaningful, simplified to reduce duplication and optimize efforts, as well as share good practices to improve work management,” he said.In response to a supplementary question by Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh, Dr Puthucheary noted that in a yearly teacher satisfaction survey, some teachers have raised concerns in the amount of administrative overheads, and MOE is trying to put in place some IT solutions that should be able to address some of these needs.

In terms of professional development, MOE is also putting a “significant amount of work” into ensuring that every teacher has at least 100 hours of professional development every year.

But one “striking point” he also highlighted from the survey was the teachers’ perception of how they are valued and respected within society. “There was interestingly a big group of teachers within the survey who recorded that they felt that their value and the respect with which they were accorded was reducing,” he said. “And yet, this would not stop them continuing within the teaching profession, and they found this a very meaningful profession.” 

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Source: Channel NewsAsia, Mediacorp News Group © 2016