Tuesday 07 April 2020

Primary schools present their plans to cope with teacher shortages

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Primary schools in Amsterdam have presented their plans for combating the shortage of teachers to education minister Arie Slob, and a cut to a four-day week is one of the suggestions.

The shortage of qualified staff is no longer sustainable and a ‘generation of children are growing up without the education they deserve,’ the plan states. The city needs to recruit 360 teachers as a matter of urgency.

The schools say that more ‘guest teachers’, classroom assistants and other unqualified staff will end up in front of the class – and could take over on the fifth day. Larger class sizes and scrapping some lessons is also an option.

In addition, more priority should also be given to training and keeping people who want to switch careers and move into teaching, the schools say. Part of this should be in the form of an extra allowance to cope with the cost of living in the capital, where housing is both expensive and scarce.

Head teachers are also considering seconding staff to other schools where shortages are more acute. In Amsterdam, for example, the shortage of teachers in some schools is increasing inequality of opportunity between pupils of different backgrounds, the report states.

In a reaction, Slob said he would allocate a further €9m to helping more would-be teachers change careers. However, the government will adhere to current rules about how many hours education children should have, he said.

The Hague and Rotterdam are also working on plans to combat the shortage of teachers, the Parool reported on Monday. The Hague needs 373 more full time teachers and Rotterdam 202.

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