Free teacher training is a “no-brainer”: union official


The AOb teachers’ union is calling for free teacher training as an additional measure to combat staff shortages.

“I think it’s a no-brainer but no one is looking at it seriously,” AOb chairwoman Tamar van Gelder said in an interview on the union site.

Van Gelder said the current measures, which include halving study fees for people entering teaching from other professions for the first two years, and which will end this year, are too complicated.  “It’s often up to them to find an employer, then apply for the subsidy. It doesn’t make for an attractive package,” she said.

Teacher training colleges should become national academies, comparable to the military academy or the police academy, which are both free and supply students with an income at the same time, she said.

“Things must be made much easier and cheaper for aspiring teachers, particularly those who are already working and are contemplating entering the teaching profession,” Van Gelder said.

There would be no compromise on professional requirements and skills, she said.

At the moment primary schools are struggling to fill 9,800 full-time jobs, 100 more than last year, while secondary schools have 3,800 full-time vacancies, caretaker education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf said in a briefing to MPs in December. The staff shortages are mainly concentrated in the four big cities and Almere.

The government is already investing an annual €1.5 billion in bringing primary teachers’ salaries in line with those of secondary school teachers.

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