THE STATUS OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION IN LATVIA: VIEWS OF THE TEACHERSJournal: Problems of Education in the 21st Century (Vol.77, No. 1)
Publication Date: 2019-02-15
Authors : Līga Paula; Ilze Priževoite;
Page : 126-141
Keywords : occupational prestige; teaching profession; teaching status; trade union;
Professionals who are respected in the wider community can influence public opinion and shape societal value system. While in a number of European countries teaching profession is popular and respected, in many other including Latvia its prestige is rather low. There is an ongoing debate in Latvia how to raise it; therefore, the aim of this research was to study teachers' views about the status and prestige of their occupation. The quantitative research design was developed. The web survey of teachers (n=1773) confirmed that teachers perceived their occupational prestige in Latvia as low and believed that in other European countries it is much higher. Teachers did not feel assessed adequately to their contribution. In general, teachers were concerned about their professional autonomy and freedom as they felt frustrated, overloaded and over-controlled from different sides. The respondents believed that teachers are authorities and opinion leaders also outside school that indicated positive aspects of occupational prestige. They admitted that teachers should have an ability to adapt in order to respond on contemporary societal and technological changes. Some suggestions were developed on how to improve occupational prestige: from a system perspective, more positive and supportive attitude towards education system and teachers is expected from municipalities, policy makers and the line ministry. Meanwhile great part of the respondents believed that teachers themselves should be responsible for the forming of positive image of their profession and should communicate with society more effectively on the specificity of teaching and challenges they face in contemporary conditions.
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