The government needs to spend an extra €1.1bn a year on improving teachers’ pay if it is to eradicate the looming shortage of staff, according to a government commission.
The commission estimates that some 75% of current teaching staff will leave the education sector within the next seven years.
‘This is advice we are going to follow,’ said education minister Ronald Plasterk in an initial reaction. ‘It is a top priority. Massive problems are ahead.’
The commission, led by Alexander Rinnooy Kan, chairman of the government’s socio-economic advisory body SER, says the government needs to take ‘crisis measures’.
Steps must be taken to encourage employees from the private sector to become teachers. More should also be done to cut teachers’ extra duties so that they can spend more time in front of the class.
On top of this, teachers must be encouraged to retire later and salaries must reflect educational levels and experience. The commission pointed out that the profession’s pay levels are sometimes 10% below those in similar private sector jobs.
Teaching unions said the proposals are a ‘victory for education’. Walter Dresscher of the AOb union said that for years the government has scored a C+ but could now take real steps to improve teaching standards.
Head teachers also welcomed the plans, but stressed that schools should retain responsibility for their own policy.
Research by the education platform SBO also published on Wednesday shows that 85% of school managers expect to be confronted with a shortage of staff in the next few years.
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