Will teacher shortages damage the education sector?
All over Europe, children and teenagers are returning to the classroom after the summer holidays - but massive shortages in teaching staff are being reported across the continent. Not only are there ever fewer young people entering the teaching profession, many teachers are leaving it and seeking employment in other, better-paid fields. Concerns are reflected in European media.
Student teachers must also get good pay
Teacher training reforms during Macron's first term in office have made teaching even less attractive as a profession, sociologist Pierre Merle criticises in Le Monde:
“From now on students will no longer take their teaching exam at the end of the first year of the master's programme, but at the end of the second. That year is dedicated to writing a thesis, teaching one third of the time, and preparing for the exam. Huge requirements. The reform has turned more than 20,000 student teachers who receive 1,500 euros net per month into trainees who get only half as much. Minister Blanquer is pauperising these young professionals on the sly. In order to make derisory savings he has sacrificed the future.”
Fatally becoming dumber and dumber
The situation in Slovakia's education system is also dramatic, Új Szó underlines:
“According to studies, Slovakian schools will be short of around 8,600 teachers in 2025. ... The schools are in a pitiful state due to underfunding of the education sector. Educational tools are sorely lacking everywhere. ... The low pay for teaching staff is compounding the problems. ... If the situation in the education sector continues to deteriorate, we'll all end up stupid. Then the ruling elite, in whose interest this is, will be able to manipulate, control, pit us against each other and oppress us at will.”
Big promises are not enough
The Hungarian prime minister has received a hefty pay rise whereas teachers are going empty-handed, Élet és Irodalom criticises:
“The government has announced that teachers' salaries will be increased by ten percent per year over the next three years. But already this year the increase will be cancelled out by inflation. ... Qualified teachers in Hungary earn a net income of 210,000 forints [about 500 euros] per month at the start of their career. It seems strange that by contrast Orbán's monthly salary before taxes was only recently raised from 1.3 million [about 3,140 euros] to 3.5 million forints [about 8,450 euros].”
Investment needed even in times of crisis
At least there is a glimmer of hope for the Czech education system, Český rozhlas notes:
“Fortunately, the government recently decided to raise teachers' salaries to 130 percent of the average Czech wage - although not until 2024. ... However, negotiations on next year's budget are likely to be complicated. This time round a particularly high number of hands will be stretched out. To help those who are really affected by the crisis, investments in education could be postponed until better times. However, even during a war education remains a priority so that the Czech Republic becomes more competitive and resistant to further crises.”