A study conducted by a global education charity foundation revealed that Malaysians have the highest regard for school principals out of 35 countries polled
Respondents of the Varkey Foundation's Global Teacher Status Index 2018 (GTSI 2018) were asked to rank 14 professions in order of respect. Malaysians ranked its school principals as the highest out of all the professions, which included doctors and social workers.
According to the survey, Malaysia is one of only three countries in which teachers were thought to be the most similar profession to doctors. The other two nations were China and Russia.
Malaysia ranked second after China in terms of respect for teachers, and fourth in terms of whether they would encourage their children to become teachers
49% of the Malaysian respondents said that they would definitely or probably encourage their children to become teachers.
However, it was revealed that Malaysian teachers work the least hours of all the countries surveyed, at 26.1 hours per week.
This is approximately half the amount of time that teachers in countries such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Singapore, reportedly work.
A key finding of the survey is the direct correlation between the status of teachers in society and the performance of children in school
"Countries which have higher teacher status are more likely to record higher Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) scores," the 2018 Index revealed, indicating that a high teacher status likely leads to greater student outcomes in that country.
The report revealed that teacher status is rising globally, as 13 of the countries polled in 2013 and 2018 have seen their teacher status score increase.
"Now we can say beyond a doubt that respecting teachers isn't only an important moral duty ― it's essential for a country's educational outcomes," said founder Sunny Varkey, Malay Mail reported.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry will be seeking help from Finland to improve Malaysia's education system: