As the century goes, education has emerged at the forefront of the world’s concern over its own future. The challenges of the coming century to eliminate poverty and ensure sustainable development and lasting peace will fall to today’s young people. Educating the young to meet these challenges has become a priority objective for every society. The young generation is entering a world which is changing in all spheres – scientific and technological, political, economic, social and cultural. The outlines of the ‘knowledgebased’ society of the future are forming. This report considers the situation of the world’s teachers. It reviews recent trends and developments in education and educational policies affecting their status, the contexts in which they work and the pressures they face, and their education and training. It also considers the emerging challenges for teachers and teaching posed by the introduction into education of the new information and communication technologies. The discussion is necessarily broad in scope and selective in the details chosen for emphasis. A teacher's work can be divided into three main areas: the work with students, which mean the “ordinary teaching”, and the work in school with other staff members, the kind of organizational work, and the work with societies at large. A teacher’s work can be defined as the workload of being a teacher, as described in a story by an anonymous;
One day, after being interviewed by the school administration, a teaching prospect said, “Let me see if I’ve got this right: “You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their Tshirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning. “You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride. “You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job. “You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the state exams. “You want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents by letter, telephone newsletter, and report card. “You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps. “You want me to do all this and then you tell me...

The meaning of ‘a changing society’ is the social transformation to address social need of a community for salvation, sanctification, and edification. The context that is going to be studied is on the educational context that mainly focuses on the teachers. The focus of the

report is broadly on teachers in the formal education system at the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels; teachers at these levels currently account for nearly nine out of ten teachers in the world’s formal education systems (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: percentage breakdowns of teachers in the world’s formal education system (1980 to 1995). The number is increasing from year to year.

While the percentage grows, the workloads of the teachers grow along significantly. As we enter the era of globalization where changes take place, the work of a teacher differs from that of the past years and now in terms of economically, politically, scientifically, technologically, socially and culturally. For instance, the changes of teaching practice when ICT is in use. Back in the early 90’s when little technological means were used in classrooms, a teacher’s work only requires little ICT skill. Nowadays, advance technology is used in classrooms, for example, computers and internet, head projectors, and computerized electrical system. It requires extra ICT skill from the teacher thus contributing to the increment of workloads. In terms of social change, we may view that a teacher’s work back then is quite minimal, when students were perceived as being respectful to the teachers and among themselves despite the diversity of background. Today, more concern is stressed on the role of the teachers to ensure and to promote the integration between students from different background. All these show that a teacher’s

work is never the same as time goes by, and we will consider the factors of the changes, the highlight of the teacher’s work, challenges for the teachers and an overview of a changing world that affects teaching system.

Much has been written about the rapid rate of change that is characterizing our society at the close of the 20th century. Nations around the world are experiencing dramatic shifts in their political, economic, cultural, technological and social structures. Malaysia is no exception and the result has increased demands from our country’s individuals and institutions, including education. The Malaysian society is engaging towards globalization and its educational system is not excluded from experiencing changes. The rate of literacy among Malaysians has shown a stable growth over the years. Not to be denied that this is a result of societal changes that took place during the period. Education has been the main agenda in fostering the nations. Through the Malaysian Plan and the National Malaysians Education are Policy, in the the subject of education and educating always highlight. The changes in other
Figure 2: percentage of literacy of Malaysians by year. Literacy of male adults remains higher than female adults.

contributing factors are not to be missed as well. Cultural, economic, and other factors have influenced the

system of education. Automatically, it contributes to the increase of teachers’ work. To cater the needs of educational demands, more and more teachers were produced and employed. Cultural change has forced the system to employ more teachers from different racial and religious background. Meanwhile, economical change has brought over the options in education in Malaysia. From mainly public-funded schools to a choice of non-

governmental institutions, Malaysians from different economic background has an option on how to educate themselves. More funds are allocated to help the lower economic background citizens to send their children to school, and many scholarships are available for students who are eligible. In the technological and scientific perspectives, Malaysia has experience a constant change and development stages in times. The implementation of ICT in classrooms, the formation of smart schools, and the introduction of computer and internet literacy subjects in education have done so much in bringing about change in the work of a teacher. Malaysians are emerging as an educated society toward developing its nation and the literacy percentage of our people has significantly increased (see Figure 2). Our society has develops from time to time to adapt to the changes and globalization, and this whether formally or informally has influence the teaching and beyond.

Reservations concerning a ‘product-oriented’ view of education (Malaysia) “A high quality teaching force – one that is always learning – is a sine qua non of coping with the dynamic complexity of a changing world. There are simply no substitutes to having better teachers. However, the status and image of teachers accorded by society do not seem to be commensurate with these expectations. Teachers’ pay remains comparatively low and opportunities for career advancement are limited. All these are issues related to the assessment of the worth of the teaching profession. However, we should not assess education solely from the socio-economic perspective for otherwise we run into the danger of using performance indicators to appeal to economics and business sense and thus subjugate the influence of teaching professionals under the control of managerial authority. This in the end may only further limit the development of the profession and promote the development of a product-oriented rather than process-oriented view of education.” Source: Strengthening the Role of Teachers in a Changing World. Country Paper, pp. 2 –3, Kuala Lumpur, Ministry of Education, 1996. (National report presented at the 45th session of the International Conference on Education, Geneva, 1996.) Box 1 – an excerpt from a report by the Ministry of Education

A teacher’s work can never end. From the role of everyday teaching process to managerial to the role as a member of the society, teachers play various roles to ensure that the education system and the society as a whole move along side by side. The movement towards monitoring and evaluation of the quality and performance of national education systems has undoubtedly begun to have an impact on the way in which education is regarded both by society at large and by the people directly involved, not least teachers. While education is opened up to democratic debate, it also becomes another ‘industry’, like mining or construction, with indicators too of inputs, process and output, as well as of ‘market conditions’ for the product. Not all educational policymakers are comfortable with this trend, including us (see Box 1). Too much pressure is on the teachers when a change in the society takes place. However, it is of their concerns that the development process of the changes went smooth. Teachers have to facilitate all the necessary means for the students (that makes up the society) to adapt to the changes. As far as we’re concerned, the development of the society has never failed, thanks to the teachers, who responded positively to the call. Policy-making is crucial for them as they work dependently on this. Educational policy that is blended well with these changes gives smoother run for the development. A teacher’s work may vary from that of others. One may find it hard to implement a change especially when the time comes, but another may find it as easy as introducing a new way of teaching. Having to require a new set of skills or perhaps knowledge, teacher’s work is indeed subjected to these changes.

Generally, it is often viewed that a societal change that has great impact on the teacher’s work centered mainly on its technological side. The development of ICT has bigger effect on a teacher’s work compare to that of the changes in political, economical, and environmental side. The teachers’ computer use and their perceptions of the impact of computers on their classroom practice. Teachers made it clear that the computer did not automatically cause more progressive teaching practices. The teachers who had adopted

more progressive teaching practices over time felt that computers helped them change, but they did not think that the computers worked as a catalyst for change. Instead, they offered variety of reasons for changing practice. They made it clear that their changes in instructional approach were the result of thoughtful reasoning. Their experiences in the classroom, reflection on those experiences, and the professional culture of a school influenced this knowledge construction process about what does and does not work in the classroom. We study the relations between teachers’ skills in using ICT, their pedagogical thinking, and their self-reported practices. The study indicated that teachers who intensively used information technology emphasized, more than other teachers, the importance of using information technology for facilitating students’ participation in progressive inquiry, collaborative learning, the learners’ active engagement in knowledge formation process, and learnability of intelligence. It also indicated that the discrepancy between theory and practice did not seem to be so strong in the context of teachers who actively use ICT, they appeared to have adequate pedagogical means for pursuing new pedagogical practices. The impact of economical change, however does little to the work of a teacher, at least for the time being. In Malaysia, during the downturn of the world economy in 1997, a relatively small change can be seen at the educational level. It did, somehow brought some change to the work of the teachers. The same phenomenon goes to the political change, as it was said in the Malaysian context. When a political form restructures, some changes are brought into the education system, but merely a small percentage of change in the work of a teacher can be seen. So, it is considered that technology brings greater impact on a teacher’s work in a changing society.

Teachers will be facing a lot of challenges especially in the age of globalization that promises a degree of social change from time to time. When a social change takes place, challenges for teachers will increase and vary. The change in economics, politics, technology, cultures and others in a community will deter the type of challenges that a teacher may be facing. A change in culture, say, in Malaysia where the culture in the rural areas differs from the culture in the urban areas, would give a challenge to teachers in their teaching. Students may be a lot passive than students from urban areas and there will be only little teacher-student interaction. A change in technology may result to poor effectiveness of learning, where the unfamiliarity of students’ surroundings lowers the pace of teaching. Literacy may be of low percentage, thus the receptiveness of learning may progress very slowly. In the economical term, meanwhile, these students may find it hard to get books, stationeries, and even to buy uniforms. There are funds allocated for these schools but the fact is it still inadequate. Amenities in these schools are limited and so are the resources for teachers. Nevertheless, teachers in the urban schools are none of the exception from facing challenges. One challenge in working in an inner city school is that a lot of the children have emotional problems. They come from dysfunctional families and it's not easy for them to come to school – their focus is someplace else. Sometimes they have behavioral issues as a result of their emotional problems, and the biggest challenge is to find the key to reach that child who is very disruptive or very angry. Another challenge a teacher faces is that a lot of the children are not as prepared for school as they need to be. They come without a lot of literacy experience. They come into the classroom holding books upside down, or not knowing where the books start. Attitude is one of the major concerns in these schools. Teachers will face the environment of gangsterism and more and the attitude problems do not come from the students only, but the parents as well. Parents come from two different backgrounds, which are parents who are so involved in their children’s schooling that they regard themselves as the policy-makers in the related field, and parents who know nothing about their children matters in school.

There were 16 million teachers in the world’s formal education systems when the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers was adopted, and their number was increasing rapidly. The 1960s was a period of considerable expansion of education in most regions of the world and there were widespread shortages of teachers, especially in the newly independent developing countries. Many countries adopted temporary, ad hoc measures to meet the shortages, notably by employing untrained teachers, while at the same time postponing the investment needed for long-term solutions. In consequence, questions concerning the status of teachers were very much in the air. In retrospect, the growth and sheer size of the teaching profession in most countries have been handicaps in obtaining improvements in the status of teachers, which was the overall aim of the Recommendation. The 57 million teachers employed in the world’s formal education systems today constitute the largest single distinctive category of people engaged in professional and technical occupations; this fact alone makes it difficult for society to accord teachers a status similar to that of smaller professional and technical groups such as physicians, lawyers and engineers. In any case, the status of teachers is affected by the characteristics of teachers considered in the aggregate. From this standpoint, the teaching profession is notable for the diversity of its members’ backgrounds and the multiplicity of their occupational functions, ranging from managing kindergarten classes to giving university lectures, training industrial technicians and running adult education courses. Many of its members are quite modestly trained before they begin their first job, while others undergo a lengthy preparation. Other characteristics too are relevant, notably the fact that in most countries a majority of teachers work in the public sector where they normally are not highly paid in comparison with persons in other occupations with similar or even less training, and long tenure in the job usually does not bring very large increases in salary. Also, a majority of teachers at the lower levels of education often are women, which has probably in the past helped to keep salaries low. Moreover, although the teaching profession attracts large numbers of academically able graduates from secondary or higher education institutions, it must also recruit large numbers of less able graduates in order to meet the enormous human resource needs of the education system

as a whole. Taken together, all these factors account in large measure for the teaching profession’s uncertain status. In practice, therefore, the challenge for teachers has mostly been to ensure that their status is at least broadly comparable with that of other major professional and technical groups, while not foregoing the prospect of improvement when conditions are favourable. This challenge is a continuing one. The situation of teachers today is different from that of thirty years ago when the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers was adopted: there are more of them, the national education systems in which they work are very much bigger, the pupil/student populations are more diverse, and the global economic, social and cultural context has changed. What these changes have broadly implied for the status of teachers is the main concern of this chapter. There are four sections. In the first, with a view to clarifying the nature of the continuing quest for improved status, key elements of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, in particular its Guiding Principles (Box 2.1), are recalled. In the second section, the pressures driving the growth of the world’s education systems – and hence growth in the number of teachers – are considered. In the third section, major trends and developments in educational policy and expenditure in different parts of the world that have had implications for the status of teachers are examined. In the fourth and final section, a broad assessment of the emerging status and profile of the world’s teachers is made.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.