The best and the brightest teachers are needed to ensure that young people will have the skills to thrive in tomorrow’s world, concluded the OECD report Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners based on the 2018 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). This survey was conducted among 260,000 teachers and school leaders in 15,000 primary and secondary schools in 48 OECD countries, among which 29 were European, namely Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England (UK), Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

According to the OECD, the teaching profession must be more financially and intellectually appealing in order to attract high-quality teachers. To equip students with the right skills for their future studies, careers and daily lives, teachers need better access to relevant professional development, which is based on peer learning and networking. For example, more focus is required on the use of technology for teaching in teacher education and training programmes, with just 37% of teachers in Sweden and 38% of teachers in Spain reporting that they receive training on this vital topic. Likewise, the report says that schools should recognise the value of innovative teaching in responding to the challenges of the 21st century, particularly in Europe, which is lagging behind in this regard.

In addition, the OECD draws attention to the amount of time being spent disciplining students and carrying out administrative tasks in disadvantaged schools, with teachers in Austria, England and the Flemish community of Belgium reportedly suffering the most.

As far as gender-balance is concerned, vertical segregation remains an issue among OECD education systems, with women occupying just 47% of school leadership positions despite the teaching force being 67% female.

The OECD also lauds the exemplary work being carried out by teachers and school leaders, especially in terms of citizenship education. To quote just one example, an impressive 80% of schools teach their students how to deal with ethnic and cultural discrimination and have already integrated global issues throughout the curriculum.

To access the report in full, please click here.