The reason why MOE is not worried about teacher attrition

And so a letter was published recently to the local ‘narrow’ sheet with the writer almost pleading the MOE to try to retain teachers (especially the good ones) in the public sector so that they don’t end up in the tuition industry benefiting those who can afford the extra help.

Whilst that is wistful thinking, let me offer a reason why MOE actually is happy for teachers to leave the service. So that vacancies are created for young teacher-to-be hopefuls who will continue to enter the field and so that NIE has ‘business’. The latter is fully dependent on MOE because they are the gate keepers of teacher training. MOE itself is a significant employer.

Also, the population is aging in Singapore faster than new birth rates to replace the lost. This means that school going children are becoming a rarity. This means less education budget (because the schools get spending money based on the student head counts – government schools at least) and lost teachers won’t likely be replaced when the student population dwindles.

So yes, more experienced and great teachers will continue to leave the service. It also means the tuition industry will get more competitive (which it is already) and the program quality will further improve, making them even more indispensable to a good education a student receives outside of the formal education system. Welcome to Singapore v2.0. COMMENT.


  • On June 27, 2016