NEWS

Teacher training has its benefits but is not taken seriously enough

The most important factor in improving schools are well-trained teachers. Junior high school principals said in their replies that teachers lacked the academic and cognitive background to teach their subjects properly. The survey made it clear that students’ performance was higher in schools where instructors were teaching subjects they had been trained to teach. An increase of 10 percent in trained teachers, for example, resulted in an improvement of 3.7 percent in children’s performance. Greece may have a plethora of teacher training programs (absorbing a large amount of funding), but teacher participation and program quality are lacking. The question arises whether teachers take the programs seriously or race through them simply to pocket the cash. Heavy homework burden From junior high school onward, Greek schoolchildren begin to do great amounts of homework. Greek 15-year-olds have the heaviest workload out of all their peer groups in the OECD countries surveyed, devoting seven hours a week on average to physics, mathematics and language. This puts Greece in first place regarding time spent on homework. And this is homework just for the three basic subjects; it does not include time spent learning foreign languages and other activities, which places an extra burden on children and drastically reduces their free time. Children in Hungary also spend a large amount of time (5.8 hours per week on average) on homework for the three basic subjects. Children in Great Britain and Spain tie in third place, with 5.2 hours per week on average.