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Teacher Status Index 2013 report published by the Varkey GEMS Foundation

Teacher Status Index 2013 report
published by the Varkey GEMS Foundation

 (Download a copy the report by right-clicking on the report title.)

Are Cultural And Financial Changes Possible?

The 2013 Global Teacher Status Index study highlights where teachers are, what they’re doing, and where they’re going. Yes, it isn’t showcasing freelance teachers (the report refers to state employed teachers), but it does indicate cultural aspects affecting our teaching service. The report is not conclusive. However, it does help to know whether you live in a country that respects teachers and their work in education as this knowledge indicates by how much or little we can range our teaching service prices and rates.

Click this image to read a review written by Jeff Dunn on 3rd October 2013

Click this image to read a review written by Jeff Dunn on 3rd October 2013

To read another review of this report (and see an overview of country salary and PISA placings), please click the Edudemic logo above.

Here are the main points lifted out of this study:

The Foreword written by Sunny Varkey (founder and trustee of the Varkey GEMS Foundation) would like to see a day to mark and celebrate the ‘noble’ profession of teaching.

However, he also states in his foreword that he believed the times of ‘elevated status enjoyed by teachers in society has declined over the years and will seriously affect the life chances of the next generation’. On the other hand, he stated the study has shown many countries think teachers deserve to be paid more: 🙂

Research shows the better teachers are paid, the greater the student outcomes’ but that ‘improving pay and conditions alone won’t solve the problem of teacher status. Unless teaching is valued culturally, then the incentive of better pay will not be enough’.

The Executive Summary written by Professor Peter Dolton found that 59 % of the 21 countries questioned in the study stated ‘teachers ought to be paid according to the performance of their pupils’.

Remark: This is the (our) norm! Respect, acknowledgement and reward go hand-in-hand with a freelance teacher’s performance.

There are two Topic Insight reviews:

  • Lord Adonis (former UK Schools Minister) states at the top of his review ‘No education system can be better than its teachers. Recruiting the brightest and best into teaching is a critical imperative in all nations, whatever their wealth or poverty.


  • Andreas Schleicher (Deputy Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to OECD’s secretary-General) reminded us of…

teachers who inspired us, who opened up new worlds and remember as people who changed the course of our lives or deepened the meaning of it’ – only to follow up with these questions:

What makes a teacher great? And who decides?

I also agreed with the first two sentences of his closing paragraph – in particular the second sentence:

The world is indifferent to tradition and past reputations, unforgiving of frailty and ignorant of custom or practice. Success will go to those individuals, institutions and countries that are swift to adapt, slow to complain and open to change.

Can we freelancing teachers learn from the insights of this study? From the insights of the authors in the foreword, executive summary, and topic insights?

Yes, I believe we can.

We learn from this study that (state) employed teachers are often regarded as civil servants – rather than respected individuals doing a respected job. Social disrespect may come from the discrepancies arising from the differences between a governmental body compared with the economic open workforce. Having lived and worked in Germany for ca. 30 years, the many governmental benefits and salaries issued to their civil servants cause envy and disrespect: fixed salaries, holiday entitlements, secure and planned pensions, and employment security.

So, what went wrong? Why has the educational system fallen into such disrepute by society in general or criticised by the majority of students being taught?

  • Does employment security result in better teachers?
  • What inspires teachers to inspire and motivate their students?
  • Where does this motivation come from?

Or to quote Andreas Schleicher again…

‘What makes a teacher great? And who decides?’

In the open economy, the study proved that in most of the questioned countries, people thought ‘teachers ought to be rewarded with fair pay that is between 1 – 40% more than what they are presently getting.’

That is, state-employed teachers. As freelancers we must earn more than state employed teachers to cover costs such as administration and running costs, tax, social security, etc.

So yes, this is what we can take home from the study:

  1. We can use the study as a tool to position and range possible income levels in the country we live;
  2. We can use it to assist our mental image and cultural placement of our work in the country we live; we can recognise what problems we have to face.
  3. We work in the open market workforce and have influence on its market. We cannot expect changes made by governments or the world to better our status, income, and standard of living overnight. However, we do have a singular advantage over state schoolteachers. We can make the cultural and financial changes within our immediate field and scope of work.

It means, we are responsible for changes when we want to change our private and working lives. And we do it first by believing in ourselves and our work.


What Do You Think?

Are cultural and financial changes possible?

Leave a comment in the Add Your Comment box below. 🙂 or send me an email.

It would be great if you could send me a quick email to let me know your thoughts on this.


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