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Education Indicators in Focus

Education Indicators in Focus is a recurring series of briefs that highlight specific indicators in OECD’s Education at a Glance that are of particular interest to policy makers and practitioners. They provide a detailed look into current issues in pre-primary, primary and secondary education, higher education, and adult outcomes from a global perspective, and contain an engaging mix of text, tables and charts that describe the international context of the most pressing questions in education policy and practice.

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How do primary and secondary teachers compare?

While policy debate is often focused on the whole teaching profession, primary and secondary teachers differ in more ways than one. While all countries require teachers to have at least a bachelor degree to enter the profession in primary or lower secondary education, the structure and content of the programmes vary and are less geared towards practice at secondary than primary level. Primary school teachers spend on average 10% more of their working time teaching, though their class size will be slightly smaller. Finally, primary teachers’ salaries are less competitive than their lower secondary peers in more than half of the countries. Improving the attractiveness and effectiveness of the teaching profession can only be addressed by recognising these differences and adapting a differentiated policy to address the challenges of each.

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