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Declining of Male teachers in Primary Schools – Causes

Declining of Male teachers in Primary Schools – Causes

Causes of the declining or dearth of male teachers in the Primary have become an issue of discuss recently. We welcome your view and opinion on this topic. Declining of Male teachers in Primary Schools – Causes. Read also: Crowded Classroom and Academic Performances of the Students/ Pupils.

The shortage of male teachers in primary schools, especially in Australia, is not only affecting the education sector but also creating a gender imbalance in the workplace. Back in the 1980s, around 30% of the primary school teachers were males, but that figure has been on a steady decline up to date, leaving the figure at around 18%.

Not only in Africa or Nigeria, it is a general issue. In 2019 the population of teachers in Australia was calculated to be over 288,294. About 81,456 were males leaving women to the greater number of 206,838 all figures are verifiable here

Australia has about 12 million males and females respectively, why then is it that the number of males who are in the teaching line is way lesser in number nowadays than ever before? It is projected that if it continues this way, the country may end up having less than 10 percent by 2030. 

Primary schools are traditionally dominated by women. So this decline in male teachers could be seen as a reflection of the wider gender gap in education. But there may be another reason for the drop. Studies suggest that boys perform less well academically than girls, but that’s a suggestion anyways. And when it comes to teaching, it seems that female teachers perform better than their male counterparts due to the special way they engage the students. 

This issue came into focus recently after a study found that male primary school teachers tend to be rated lower on their ability to teach children. Researchers analyzed data from two studies conducted in 2014 and 2016. One used a survey of 1,000 primary school teachers in England, while the other surveyed 2,500 primary school teachers in Australia. Both studies asked the same questions about teacher abilities and performance.

The researchers looked specifically at the differences in ratings that male and female teachers received. They discovered that the male teachers received a rating way lower than the females. The general report indicated that male teachers in Australia were rated lower than the two countries. 

Reasons for the Vehement Decline of Male Teachers in Australian Primary Schools

There are several factors that are believed to be responsible for the decline of male teachers at the primary level. In short, low salaries, lack of training opportunities, and lack of job security are some of the major ones. All these we shall discuss to see how they contribute to the decline of male teachers in the country. 

1. Lack of motivation

Apart from being paid less than their female counterparts, male teachers do not get any form of recognition for their good work. The situation has led to many male teachers leaving the profession even before they retire. Many of them are passionate about what they do, they love the profession but the government is putting interest in the values they uphold. Read Nobel Economist Study Shows Bridge International Academies Chain’s Successful Learning Outcomes.

Maybe the government expects them due to their masculinity to play the fatherly role effortlessly not knowing that men need to be recognized too like the females.     Those who stay in the field often take additional jobs to supplement their meager earnings. 

Speaking from a right sense to this, I don’t think the government deserves to have them as teachers. For the fact that they are teachers of basic education, their incentives should be something worth to be commended by the government. Instead of doing that they channel the energy to the tertiary institutions. 

2. Poor working environment

There is no doubt that teaching is a noble profession. However, the conditions under which male teachers teach have been described as “unacceptable” by many experts. Most children suffer from poor sanitation, thus making them prone to disease, which puts pressure on the teacher to spend time looking after his/her students.

When class sizes increase, the workload becomes heavier, especially when there are more pupils per classroom. Most of the time, they end up answering the call of their fatherly role by unconsciously taking the pupils into consideration. Even those who are yet to start up their family are all partakers of this.

3. Gender bias

It is normal for women to excel in certain fields while men tend to dominate others. Hence, the reason that the proportion of males in the teaching force is lower than expected. As a result, male teachers end up doing double duty. This makes their lives difficult, other times causes some of them to get depressed.

4. Low pay

Male teachers earn much less than their female colleagues. Moreover, they are rarely promoted to higher positions, unlike women, who are seen as reliable employees and therefore given chances to move ahead. Women teachers, however, are mostly assigned to grade six classrooms, where there are fewer students and, therefore, less responsibility. Sounds awkward to hear right? But that’s the fact. 

5. Fewer opportunities

The scarcity of qualified and experienced teachers means fewer opportunities for those who want to enter the profession. Also, universities give preference to candidates with degrees in science and technology because that’s the area of life women are yet to conquer.

Currently, we have more male technologists than females and that’s why the males seem to be more qualified for even the least positions in science-related subjects and than social sciences and humanities.

Declining of Male teachers in Primary Schools – Causes

Declining of Male teachers in Primary Schools - Causes
Image credit: North Lakes News

Possible Solutions to the Declining of Male teachers in Primary Schools

It is estimated that 1 in 5 primary school students do not have access to male role models at home. In Australia, we are seeing an alarming trend where boys are being left behind academically due to a lack of male role model guidance and mentoring.

A study conducted by the University of Melbourne showed that boys without male role models were less likely to complete their education than those who had male role models. There was also evidence that boys who experienced bullying were more likely to drop out of school. Boys need positive male role models to show them how to behave appropriately, particularly in regard to academics. 

1. Training The Teachers to Adapt

The role modeling of male teachers is extremely important in helping reduce the gender gap in schools. By having male teachers, parents are able to send the message that they expect their sons to achieve academic success. Declining of Male teachers in Primary Schools – Causes.  previous article on ‘6 Ways to Help An Academically Dull Child to Improve.

One of the ways this can be achieved is to provide male teachers with training before entering classrooms. Training programs can teach male teachers how to engage with boys, create a safe learning environment, and encourage engagement in class. This ultimately increases the likelihood that boys will take responsibility for their own learning and become confident learners.

Male teachers should be trained to work effectively with both genders of children. They should acknowledge that girls and boys learn differently and use different approaches to teaching. As well as providing effective instruction, male teachers should help to develop their pupils’ self-esteem. They should be aware of the social norms around males and females and avoid making assumptions about gender roles. This will help get them stabilized psychologically when they start advancing to the adolescent age.

A 2015 report published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies showed that young men between the ages of 15 and 24 years old are four times as likely to experience mental illness compared to women in the same age group. Men often suffer from depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders, while women tend to exhibit symptoms of eating disorders. Male teachers can play an integral role in reducing the incidence of these issues among young people by encouraging young men to seek professional treatment if necessary. 

Declining of Male teachers in Primary Schools – Causes

Furthermore, male teachers need to be equipped with strategies to deal with the challenges they face working with young boys.

  1. Encourage boys to get involved in STEM subjects. There are many male teachers out there who would love to teach science and math to young kids but lack the confidence to do so. Encouraging these teachers to take their skills and expertise into primary schools could make a huge difference to our future workforce.
  2. Get rid of gender stereotypes. Today’s society places unrealistic standards on what it means to be a boy or girl. We need to teach kids to embrace their differences rather than try to change them.
  3. Teach children how to use technology. A lot of the issues facing today’s students stem from not having enough time to learn about technology. If we want to fix education then we have to start teaching children at school how to use technology.

2. Increase pay

Teaching salaries are low in comparison with other professions. According to research conducted by the National Union of Teachers, the average salary for a primary school teacher is $23,600 was £22,000 in 2012. A survey published last year showed that 90% of teachers said they were dissatisfied with their job.

Pay can be increased by raising standards in education. Secondary school teachers earn an average of over AU$ 60,00 yearly. Increasing salaries may encourage more men to consider a career in teaching.

3. Focus on the STEM subjects

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are three core subjects that students need to learn if they are going to prepare themselves for employment. Boys tend to do well in science, while girls excel in Maths. However, boys still make up about 60% of primary school teachers.

This imbalance is detrimental to children who don’t receive exposure to different subject areas early enough. Girls are often taught about art and music, whereas boys are encouraged to focus on physical sciences. As a result, there are fewer female scientists than ever before.

It is possible to change this balance by providing more encouragement for STEM subjects in schools. This could involve ensuring that lessons are taught using interactive methods and encouraging pupils to develop skills in programming and design.

Declining of Male teachers in Primary Schools – Causes


In summary, the issue of imbalance in Australia’s teaching profession is a problem that is solvable. Having listed and discussed the root problem, I think a huge part of it is dependent on the cooperation of the Australian Government. Once they call it a concern, it would be settled. 

Again, this is not something that will happen just in a space of a few years. No, it would take at least a decade of intensive effort to balance it.