Aspiring teachers fail entry test, adding to shortage woes


Tough entry tests at primary school teacher training colleges are causing many students to fall at the first hurdle, the AD reports.

The tests were introduced in 2014 for students whose school exams did not include subjects such as geography, history or nature and technology and are meant to improve the quality of the training. Students also have to show they are proficient in language and arithmetic.

Over a quarter of the aspiring teachers failed the entry tests over the last few years, the paper writes, with history forming a particular stumbling block.

Primary teacher training organisation LOBO said the tests are stopping students from opting for a job in primary education. ‘They are in the middle of their [school] exams and really have no time for extra tests,’ spokesperson Henk Verheijde told the AD.

Provisional figures for next September show that some 8,600 students have registered as trainee teachers which is over 500 more than last year. The increase, however, is almost completely down to a bigger number of part time students.

This is ‘a worrying trend because to combine work and training is not easy and many people drop out. Teacher training is not a piece of cake. With these kinds of numbers we are not going to combat the lack of teachers,’ Verheijde said.

The national shortage of primary teaching staff is expected to worsen next year, with around 1,400 vacancies unfilled when children return to school after the summer holidays.

The number is higher than at the start of the current school year, when 1,300 positions still had to be filled. The majority of the posts are for teachers, but the number also includes 400 support staff and 320 head teachers.

A recently published prognosis indicated that the national shortage of teachers would grow to 10,000 by 2027, with schools in the central urban belt of the country worst affected.

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