85% of primary school teachers feel huge stress at work: survey

April 06, 2016 13:12
More than 45 percent of the primary school teachers said they are unhappy at work. Photo: HKEJ

Eight in 10 primary school teachers work 51 hours or more a week, and 85 percent of them feel huge stress at work, according to recent survey by the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers (HKFEW).

On a scale of zero to 10 (10 being the highest), the teachers gave a score of 4.67 to their level of satisfaction at work and 3.39 to the Education Bureau's primary education policies, Ming Pao Daily reports, citing the results of the survey of 544 teachers.

In fact, 46 percent of the teachers consider themselves unhappy at work (with a score below four), 39 percent say they are enjoying their job (with a score of six or above), while the remaining respondents gave a “marginal passing” score as to their level of happiness.

At least 70 percent of the respondents gave a failing score for local education policies.

Integrated Education, External School Review and Territory-wide Assessment (TSA) were rated the three most unwelcome education policies in the survey.

According to the survey, 41 percent of the teachers work over 61 hours a week, or 10 hours a day for six days each week.

About 86 percent of the respondents said they are facing very high or comparatively high pressure at work.

Of those interviewed, 43 percent are principals or assistant principals, 30 percent are supervisors and 25 percent are teachers.

The major sources of pressure are administrative work (63 percent), teaching (61 percent), students' behavioral problems (61 percent), handling of students with special education needs (55 percent) and complaints and expectations from parents (52 percent).

Nearly 20 percent of the teachers complained that administrative work consumes more than half of their time at work.

The survey also found that teachers give an average of 26 lessons a week, with the workload of subject teachers and class teachers even bigger.

Commenting on the survey results, the HKFEW said it hopes the government will give more consideration to the views and sentiments of front-line teachers in coming up with education policies.

It said education planners should reduce the number of lessons for teachers, optimize the teacher-to-student ratio, review the integrated education policies, and introduce new positions for full-time special education coordinators to alleviate the current bottleneck.

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