Teacher Retention

Published Date: 07 November 2016 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Lim Wee Kiak, Sembawang GRC


To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) what is the current cost of training a teacher; (b) what is the average number of years that a qualified teacher stays in the teaching service; (c) what are the three main reasons for teachers leaving the profession; and (d) what is being done to motivate teachers to stay and make teaching their lifetime career.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

AP Daniel Goh Pei Siong, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament


To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools): (a) whether the annual resignation rate of teachers over the last five years compared to a decade ago from 2% to 3% is a cause for concern; (b) what is the resignation rate of new teachers within five years of teaching in 2015 compared to a decade ago; and (c) whether the non-teaching workload is a significant factor in teachers' resignations nowadays.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap, Aljunied GRC


To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools): (a) in each year over the past ten years, how many teachers have left the teaching force after their teaching bond ended, with a breakdown by teachers on the Postgraduate Diploma in Education, Diploma in Education, and BA/BSc (Education) tracks; and (b) of these, how many are (i) MOE scholars (ii) having teaching as their first career and (iii) are mid-career switches to teaching.


1. The cost of training a teacher on the 12-month Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) at the National Institute of Education (NIE) is around $23,000. Salaries are also paid to trainee teachers during their NIE training.

2. On average, our teachers have been in service for 11 years.

3. The overall resignation rate for the entire teacher population has remained low at around 2% to 3% a year over the past decade. Over the first five years of service, we see a slightly higher overall resignation rate of around 3% to 4% a year, on average. Typically, there would be an uptick in the resignation rate to about 5% for teachers when their bond ends.

4. The main reasons for resignations range from family considerations such as childcare, to a desire for a change of job. Workload is not commonly cited as a reason for teachers leaving the service.

5. MOE recognises that teaching as a profession is demanding and requires significant commitment and deep skills. Many teachers have decided to make teaching their lifetime career and contribute to the development of our next generation. We have consistently paid close attention to our teachers in ensuring that they are (i) fairly remunerated, (ii) provided with developmental opportunities to grow in their careers and (iii) being taken care of in terms of their well-being.

6. First, teacher remuneration is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains market-competitive. The last two salary reviews were in September 2012 and October 2015, and eligible teachers had a monthly salary increase of 8% and 4%-9%, respectively.

7. Second, we provide our teachers with many career and professional opportunities. They can develop their careers by taking up leadership positions in schools and MOE HQ, becoming teacher leaders, or take up senior specialist roles.

8. The Ministry also provides strong support for the professional development of teachers. The Academy of Singapore Teachers, professional academies and language centres, put together many programmes and courses that help our teachers develop professionally. We also have various financial and leave provisions to support teachers who wish to deepen their professional mastery.

9. Third, the well-being of our teachers is important to us. MOE is mindful of the high expectations of teachers. To address this, we have put in place measures to support and guide schools in work allocation. Schools also regularly review work areas that can be stopped if they are no longer relevant or meaningful, simplified to reduce duplication and optimise efforts, as well as share good practices to improve work management.

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