What parents around the world really think of their children’s teachers and schools

Unicef Early Moments Matter 3

Right to education, Teachers and learning

Which countries' parents are happiest with their schools - and who spends the most time helping with homework? Some of the answers may surprise you.

If you’re a parent in Kenya, you’re pretty happy with the quality of teaching at your child’s school. If you’re from Singapore or China, you reckon education in your country has improved in the past decade.

And if you’re a mother or father from a wealthy nation like the United Kingdom, you probably spend much less time helping your child with their homework than those from India or Vietnam.

Those are some of the headlines from a survey of more than 27,000 parents from 29 countries – including Colombia, Uganda, Indonesia, South Africa, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam, Finland, Brazil and the United States.

“Despite headlines of funding shortfalls and educational failure around the world, it’s remarkable to see how much faith parents have in the quality of teaching at their child’s school,” said Vikas Pota, Chief Executive of the Varkey Foundation, which conducted the survey and also runs the annual Global Teacher Prize.

Education Survery Australia

Children work together during a lesson at a primary school in Australia (Marco Antonio Torres)

“Our research also shows that parents, especially in emerging economies, are taking their role in education seriously by devoting many hours a week to help their child out of school. 

“However, governments need to support parents by ensuring that under-pressure school budgets are protected – and by reversing the cuts in education aid in the poorest parts of the world.”

Here are some of the key findings from the Global Parents’ Survey.

78% of parents worldwide rate the quality of teaching at their child’s school as “fairly good” or “very good”. The top 10 countries are: Kenya with 92%; USA 91%; India, Estonia, UK, Finland 87%; Australia, Indonesia 86%; Brazil 85%; and South Africa 84%.

But only 45% say the quality of free schools in their country in general is good.

50% of all parents say if extra funds were available to their child’s school they should be spent on extra teachers or improving the pay of existing teachers.

45% who have a choice of schools believe quality of teachers, along with location, is the most important factor.

Education Survery Zambia

Students in class at the Monze Primary School, Zambia (Global Partnership for Education)

64% feel their child’s school is preparing them well for the world of 2030 and beyond. This is strongest in some Asian countries, particularly India (88%) and Indonesia (86%). African and Latin American parents are more likely to believe their children are being prepared well than parents in most European countries.

Asked what their biggest concerns are for their children’s future, 42% say getting a successful career and 34% say the cost of living.

40% of parents worldwide consider it extremely important their child attends university – but Latin Americans are far more determined about university than most.

25% of parents worldwide spend seven or more hours a week helping their children with their education. This rises to 62% in India, 50% in Vietnam and 39% in Colombia. Parents in established economies are spending less time, with only 5% “devoting seven or more hours a week in Finland, 10% in France and Japan, and 11% in the UK.

Parents were asked: Do you think the standard of education in your country has become better or worse (or the same) over the past 10 years?” India comes top with 72% of parents, China and Singapore on 70%, Indonesia and Kenya 68%, and South Korea and Vietnam 65%. The nations where most parents believe education has got worse are South Africa (72%) and France (70%).

The Varkey Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world. It interviewed 27,380 parents in 29 countries using an online survey.

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