I believe that there are key components, areas in the education system that are able to determine successful teaching, or at least significantly increase the likelihood of success. If we find these and improve them, teaching itself will have a chance to succeed. Based on my experience and some research, I believe that one of the key areas is the social value of the teaching profession. In the following article, I'd like to share some interesting statistics, articles about this topic and my own ideas on the argument.
The following chart shows the first 39 countries according to their performance on the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) assessment [i]. The table is divided with three different colors to show the above/on/below average performance of particular OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries.
We can see that the first 7 places are located in Asia, followed by 5 countries from Europe, then Canada, … etc. The USA is just the 36th on this list. What is that extra something that the Asian and some European education systems can do and the US – the World's most wealthy country [ii] - cannot ?
Money Is Not Everything
I heard many times, that there is not enough money for education. In fact, actually the money spent for the education system seems to be enough. Many countries with smaller budgets can show more results than the US. The US spends approximately $12000/student/school year in the 2010-11 school year [iii] . This is about the same amount that Luxembourg, Norway or Switzerland spent on each students. Luxembourg is the 29th, right before Norway. Switzerland is the 9th. All of them performed better than the USA.
Also the United States, show similar levels of performance in reading, as countries that spend less than half that amount per student, such as Estonia, Hungary and Poland [iv] .
The PISA results suggest that how the money is spent is more important that how much was spent. [v]
Just spending more money on education won't guarantee better performance.
Leading countries in education understand that hard work must be paid well to attract the best candidates from the top universities. In this way accredited teachers become a proud part of the nation's achievement and improvement. Better salary and everything that comes with it will make this amazing occupation more engaging for college students. More students will increase the competition and ensure that just the most dedicated, smartest and mentally prepared candidates will start to teach. For example “In Japan, teaching is a respected profession, and teachers have traditionally been paid better than other civil servants. Japan’s average teacher salary for a lower secondary school teacher after 15 years of service (the number that the OECD typically