The "Enabling Teachers" program aims to provide teachers with opportunity to develop themselves professionally. The program ensures that teachers have competitive salaries, so that teaching is seen as equally attractive with other occupations for new graduates. The goal of the program is to provide them with more time and space to reflect on their teaching and innovate, and to motivate and inspire their students as well as to help them to build up their capabilities as teaching professionals.
Singapore faced a lack of teachers in primary schools. At the same time, Singapore has the youngest teaching force across all TALIS1 countries, which means a larger proportion of teachers with fewer years of teaching experience
To increase the number of highly qualified teachers and provide them an opportunity to develop themselves professionally
Steps to solving the problem
Singapore has developed a comprehensive system for selecting, training, compensating and developing teachers and principals.
1. In order to provide schools with more teachers, the Ministry of Education (MOE) set a target KPI to recruit ~2000 teachers per year.
2. All teachers receive training on the Singapore curriculum at the country’s National Institute of Education, either in a diploma or a degree course. There is a close working relationship between the Institute and schools, where master teachers mentor every new teacher for several years.
3. Each year, the MOE investigates a salary range for entry positions and based on the analysis MOE may adjust the salaries for graduating teachers to ensure that teaching is seen as equally attractive occupation with other occupations for graduates.
4. Teachers are entitled to 100 hours of professional development per year: a variety of educational platforms, teacher-led workshops, Learning
Circles (4-10 teachers and a facilitator identifying and solving common problems using discussions) and action research (work in "learning teams" with focus on different topics having protected time slots for research work)
5. Teachers’ performance is evaluated annually on multiple measures: contribution to the academic and character development of all students in their charge, collaboration with parents and community groups, contributions to their colleagues and the school as a whole. Teachers who do outstanding work receive a bonus from a school bonus pool.
The program allowed for more work attachment opportunities for teachers, both locally and overseas, in schools as well as business and community agencies. Students benefited from the fresh perspectives and experiences that teachers bring back to the classrooms.
83% of teachers (vs. a TALIS average of 67%) have undergone a practicum in the subjects that they teach before becoming full-fledged teachers.
Highest proportion of teachers serving as mentors for other teachers (39%) or who currently have an assigned mentor (40%), compared with the TALIS averages of 14% and 13%.
Teachers have higher participation rates than average for a number of Personal Development activities, including courses and workshops (93%), education conferences (61%), in-service training in external organizations (17%), network of teachers (53%) and individual or collaborative research (45%).
Most teachers in Singapore are satisfied with their job (88%). However, almost half the teachers (46%, compared with the TALIS average of 32%) wonder whether it would have been better to choose another profession, perhaps reflecting the high educational qualifications and wide choices of careers available to teachers in Singapore. That said, 82% of teachers in Singapore report that they would still choose to be a teacher if they could decide again (the TALIS average is 78%).