Almost one-third of applicants for places on Singapore's teacher-training courses have given up careers in law, accountancy and other professions to pursue careers in education.
The big increase in applications this year has forced the country's National Institute of Education to introduce supplementary courses for the students who can't be accommodated on its existing training courses, which start in July.
The increased demand for training places is an indication of the respect that teachers now receive.
According to leading educationists, the top places recently achieved by Singaporean pupils in international tests of academic attainment have helped to elevate the status of careers in education.
Another reason being cited is the increased use of information technology in the classroom, which provides schools with a modern and positive image.
Schools are helping to promote this image with public relations initiatives such as computer workshops for parents.
The NIE said that the introduction of overspill courses, and the early dispatch of students to schools are the only ways it can accommodate the increase in student teachers.
The institute also believes that sending students into the classroom early will provide them, especially those switching from other careers, with valuable experience before they embark on full-time studies.
A recent survey of young people's perception of a range of careers revealed that teaching is considered one of the most worthwhile and interesting.