Implications of teacher exodus

I agree with Mrs Marietta Koh that the findings of the Teaching and Learning International Survey highlight a worrying trend ("Allow teachers more time to teach"; last Friday).

Such a state of affairs may lead to schools losing more teachers to the private sector, lowering the quality of education here. Teachers struggle when they must teach and plan lessons for their students, on top of doing administrative work. They may be drawn to the tuition industry, where there is more time for them to teach.

The low retention rate for experienced teachers means there are too many new teachers in the system, resulting in fewer best practices being transmitted.

The exodus of experienced teachers may also impede social mobility, as students from low-income families rely more on the school system compared to their counterparts from better-off households, who can afford private tuition.

Clearly, we must do something to improve the work-life balance of teachers.

We can start by using technology and training support staff, as well as making students take on more responsibility in their co-curricular activities, to free up time for teachers to focus on what they do best - teach.

Ng Qi Siang

This article was first published on July 03, 2014.
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