Where Do Canadian Teachers Rank In The World?
As the issue of education again comes to the forefront, Canada and its highly regarded educational system finds itself under admiring scrutiny from much of the developed world. Ranking an impressive third, despite some recent slippage in math and science, in terms of recent scores on the International Student Assessment (PISA), measuring reading, math and science, Canada and its educators have a lot to be proud of right now.
It isn’t always easy to pinpoint the driving force behind numbers like Canada boasts, which includes a long-standing literacy rate of 99%, according to the CIA World Factbook. One obvious reason may be that Canada allots upwards from 5.6% of its GDP to education, according to the World Bank, and that number has been steadily increasing. Identifying success is easy, relatively speaking, and Canada is an education success story; however, explaining that level of achievement is another matter.
According to Trading Economics, the most recently published student-teacher-ratio in Canada was 7.1. What that means is that for every teacher, there were 7.1 students. This differs somewhat from classroom size; however, that is still a fair indicator of how much time and attention the individual student might receive from their classroom instructor. For comparison, the national average in the US is a teacher-student-ratio of 12.5 – much higher.
Unlike some developed countries, Canada compensates its teachers with a living wage that enables them to dedicate themselves more readily to their students and their vocation. Education World publishes a very complete table, showing what teachers in Canada earn, as well as an explanation of other benefits. Knowing that one’s work has value to society can make for more dedicated teachers, who then pass their enthusiasm and knowledge on to their students, resulting in higher levels of educational attainment and a greater lifetime appreciation for learning.
Canadian teachers themselves are often highly educated, with “majority of prospective teachers drawn from the top 30% of their college cohorts” according to the Center on International Education Benchmarking. Good learners often make good teaches. In terms of qualifications, teachers in Canada require at least a bachelor’s degree and an additional year of teacher education, which is not unusual in developed countries. Provinces can and often do increase these requirements as well, leading to even more highly qualified individuals in the classroom.
Overall, Canadian students look to be in good hands, and for the most part, test scores bear this out, although Canada may choose to focus more of its energies of math and science in the future. They certainly have the tools – excellent teachers – to see this come to swift fruition.