Young people in Hong Kong rank teaching as their eighth most desired profession, a recent study has found. In 2002, teaching occupied third place. The study was conducted by the Office of Planning and Academic Implementation of the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd). It surveyed 1,197 Form Seven students from 21 schools. Students were asked to select the top five occupations they wanted to pursue, and another five that they respected the most. The top three most desired occupations were business executive, government executive and designer. Doctors, firemen and teachers held the most respected posts. Teaching held the same rank for the most respected jobs as in the 2002 study. But in this year's study, only 34.2 per cent of the respondents showed interest in being a teacher. This is a drop of 16.6 per cent. Those who chose teaching as their favourite career said they would get job satisfaction from teaching subjects they like. They also want to help others, and believe that teaching is a meaningful job. In the 'job security' ratings, teaching dropped from third to 12th place.Lai Kwok-chan, Head of Planning and Academic Implementation of HKIEd, attributed teaching's drop in popularity to recent bad press about the education system. He mentioned there had been much public debate about teacher redundancies, school closures and changes in the education system. He also said teaching has the image of being stressful, and that other jobs may have more promising prospects in a recovering economy. Mr Lai said it would take concerted efforts from the community and government to raise the occupation's attractiveness. He urged the government to provide better job security and higher salaries. He also said that all teachers must be fully trained before joining schools. Unqualified ones were tarnishing the image of teachers, he said. The findings also showed that students' interest in teaching was influenced most greatly by their teachers. 'Schools must provide teachers with support, so that students don't perceive teachers as being stressed and of low morale,' said Mr Lai. To attract top students, HKIEd started offering a degree course in Early Childhood Education this year. It has also set up an Entrance Scholarship of $200,000 for all four years of study at the school.