Dutch teachers move to Belgium for smaller classes and longer holidays

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

The number of Dutch teachers working in Flemish schools has gone up by 30% in the last five years, according to figures from the education ministry in Flanders.

Last year 1,010 teachers from the Netherlands were registered as working across the border, up from 921 the year before and 770 five years ago.

Flemish education minister Ben Weyts said he had no explanation for the increase and it was too small to justify a departmental investigation.

But in the Netherlands, it prompted the education ministry (OCW) to announce further investment in teachers’ salaries and improvements to working conditions in an attempt to retain them.

Both the Netherlands and Belgium are facing a shortage of qualified teaching staff. The Netherlands has a shortfall of 9,700 primary school teachers, while the number of vacancies in Flanders has doubled in the last five years to around 10,000.

Teachers who moved from the Netherlands to Belgium told NRC that smaller class sizes, better working conditions and longer holidays made it more attractive to work across the border.

Eline Guis, who teaches at a school in Brussels, said: ‘I moved initially for love, but I discovered that Belgium is the place where I want to be a teacher.

‘Wages rise with inflation, healthcare costs are lower and the children are more independent,’ she said.

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