Most of Europe’s 5 million teachers are contractually bound to work at least 35-40 hours a week, which includes teaching time, availability on school premises and time for preparation and marking. The number of hours that they have to be actively engaged in teaching varies widely: the number is generally higher in pre-primary education and decreases at higher levels of education. The average number of teaching hours in primary and secondary education is 20.
In Germany, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia, the number of teaching hours are reduced after a certain number of years of service. Across Europe, the majority of teachers are aged over 40.
In the majority of EU Member States, teachers´ minimum basic salaries are lower than per capita GDP for teachers working in compulsory education (primary and lower secondary education). Only half of the countries surveyed grant allowances to teachers based on positive teaching performance or student results.
Adequate initial teacher education and continuous professional development for teachers and trainers improve the quality of education in Europe: a highly skilled labour force can only be realised by attracting and training the best educators.
Promoting excellence in teaching is also which was launched by Commissioner Vassiliou in November 2011.