UK teachers have highest status in EU, study suggests

Countries where teachers are more highly respected perform better, according to a new analysis which compared UK with 6 EU countries

Claudia Civinini


UK teachers enjoy the highest status among the seven European Union countries, looked at in a new analysis.

The UK ranks 12th out of 35 countries polled to gauge people's opinions of teachers, according to a new analysis by the Varkey Foundation.

Out of the European Union countries polled two years ago, the UK comes first, ahead of Finland (13th), France (16th), Germany (16th), Italy (24th), Spain (28th), and Greece (24th).

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Based on data gathered by the Global Teacher Status Index 2018, which polled over 35,000 adults aged 16-64 across 35 countries, the new analysis also found a link between teacher status and Pisa 2018 results. 

In general, the study found that countries in Asia, which tend to score well in Pisa, ranked higher in terms of teacher status, and the opposite was true for Latin American countries.

China ranked highest for teacher status – and its four provinces Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang also ranked highly in Pisa 2018. Singapore, another high performer in Pisa, ranked third, and Canada fourth.

The report also offers some explanation on the fluctuation in teacher status across countries.

It found that teachers generally enjoy a higher status in richer countries and in those that reserve a greater percentage of public funds for education.

Another pattern it found is that teacher status is generally lower in countries where a greater proportion of the teaching workforce is female – although that is not the case in the UK. 

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize, said: “This report proves that respecting teachers isn’t only an important moral duty – it’s essential for a country’s educational outcomes."

The Implicit Teacher Status ranks countries according to people’s opinions of teachers.

The data is collected asking those polled to indicate as quickly as possible whether they think teachers are trusted or untrusted, inspiring or uninspiring, caring or uncaring, intelligent or unintelligent, among other word associations.

This is meant to collect automatic impressions.

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Claudia Civinini

Claudia Civinini

Find me on Twitter @claudiacivinini

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