Singapore teachers are becoming better qualified with more holding master's degrees. And this is good news for the education system here, said principals.
Already, around eight out of 10 teachers are graduates, up from 75 per cent five years ago, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE). Within this group, 13.6 per cent, or nearly 3,600, have a master's degree, compared with just 8 per cent five years ago.
More than half are teaching in secondary schools, with around a third in primary schools, and the rest working in junior colleges.
MOE, which has been increasing the number of professional development programmes such as grants and leave schemes in recent years, expects the number to continue growing. It is no longer uncommon for some schools to have a dozen or so teachers with master's degrees.
Of the 97 teachers at Bukit Panjang Government High, 10 have a master's degree. Principal Chan Wan Siong said these teachers are armed with deeper professional knowledge as well as the broader perspectives of educational theories, which, in turn, improve a student's education. Ms Adeline Phua, 33, head of humanities at Bukit Panjang Government High, who chose to juggle work and studies to get her master's degree in secondary education from the National Institute of Education, said getting a higher degree part-time, rather than studying full time, had its benefits.
"Each time I learnt something new in the course, I could immediately come back to school and apply it to the students," she said.
Ms Phua decided to further her studies after five years of teaching because "I felt like I needed to learn new things, so the master's was a natural progression". Dunman Secondary principal Beatrice Chong said that teaching should be a learning profession.
"In so doing, we demonstrate to our students our love for learning and the importance of lifelong learning," she said.