World leaders warn of ‘damaging’ effects of erosion in respect for teachers

The TES is reporting that a group of former world leaders has warned that an erosion in respect for the teaching profession could lead to “profoundly damaging” effects on young people’s life chances and a rise in extremism…

In an open letter to education ministers around the world, the leaders say that a “declining respect for teachers” will “weaken teaching, damage the learning opportunities for millions and ultimately weaken societies around the world”. 

Governments should “play their part in restoring the respect that [teachers] so richly deserve”, they add.

The letter has been published by the Varkey Foundation and the Club de Madrid – which represents former presidents and prime ministers from around the world – to mark the opening of the 2016 Global Teacher Prize…

For the full story, get the 29 May edition of TES

More at: World leaders warn of ‘damaging’ effects of erosion in respect for teachers


See also from the TES: The profession needs to be respected and celebrated, writes the chief executive of the Varkey Foundation, and the Global Teacher Prize is a big step in that direction


Does anyone have any evidence that shows that respect actually is eroding in the way this article suggests, whether in this country or globally?

I appreciate that many teachers feel a lack of respect, but I wonder if that is not a common trait in many if not all professions? As a non-teacher it is certainly not something I am aware of as I think most people – or parents at least – tend to think very well of their children’s teachers.

The second article linked to above refers to the fact that in China teachers are seen as equivalent status to doctors whereas in the UK the comparison is to nurses and social workers, but is that really an unfair assessment based on qualifications required etc?

The second article also refers positively to programmes like Educating Yorkshire and I do suspect these type of programmes really can help by showing what teachers actually go through on behalf of children.

Anyway, your reactions and thoughts on what could help boost the respect teachers are held in?


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  1. Our ‘leaders’ have done their part in undermining respect for teachers.  Even Gove’s oft-repeated praise of ‘the best-generation of teachers ever’ was a subtle criticism of older teachers, the ones, remembers, who were supposed to have been trained in ‘Marxist’ teacher training colleges and unis.  Gove’s comments about teaching being a ‘craft’ (ie not an intellectual activity) and not requiring teacher education further undermines respect.

    While it’s true that parents usually have high regard for the teachers they meet, our leaders, supported by the media, promote the idea that education in England is in decline because of ‘trendy’ teachers in thrall to the unions and other ‘enemies of promise’.  The expression, ‘Those who can, do.  Those who can’t, teach,’ is all too prevalent.

  2. Nor_edu

    SchoolsImprove if this is a global letter I think there are countries where this is worse than UK…

Let us know what you think...