Teachers in China command the highest level of respect among the people they serve, according to a comparison of what populations think about the world's teachers that was compiled by a London-based global education charity.
The Global Teacher Status Index 2018, which was published by the Varkey Foundation, is said to be the most comprehensive study ever completed of the level of respect afforded to the world's teachers.
Teacher status is higher in China than in any of the other 34 countries polled, with 81 per cent of respondents in China saying they believe pupils respect their teachers. The global average is 36 per cent.
"Five years after the first Global Teacher Status Index in 2013, we can see, once again, China has come top, demonstrating just how much respect the Chinese public has for teachers," said Vikas Pota, chairman of the Varkey Foundation. "This is crucial because, as the Global Teacher Status Index 2018 shows for the very first time, there is a direct link between teacher status and pupil performance as measured by PISA."
The study found that, in Europe and Latin America, there was more pessimism about the level of respect students have for their teachers in comparison to Asia and the Middle East. In most European countries, most respondents thought pupils were more likely to disrespect teachers than respect them.
Brazil was ranked the lowest in the poll, with Israel and Italy also in the lower part of the table.
The survey also found that half of Chinese families are likely to encourage their children to become teachers.
People in China, Russia, and Malaysia, said doctors are the closest professions to teachers. While other countries said teachers were on a par with nurses, librarians, and social workers.
However, in the Chinese mainland, teachers actually earn less than people perceive. Respondents thought secondary school teachers earned around $19,500 a year, but salaries are around $12,000. Some respondents said a fair wage for a starting secondary school teacher was $21,500.
"Raising teacher status is vital to attracting good teachers and keeping them in the profession. It is teachers, after all, who will shape the next generation and they hold our futures in their hands," said Pota.