Worry Grows Across Europe Over Teacher Shortages

The number of people who are unhappy with their jobs as teachers is at an all-time high, and as a result, several nations, including France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, and Italy, are finding it difficult to fill open teaching positions.

There are now 4,000 vacant teaching positions in France, and national predictions estimate that number will climb to 25,000 in Germany by 2025 and 30,000 in Portugal by 2030.

Eric Charbonnier, an education expert at the OECD, believes that the COVID pandemic boosted the “visibility” of the teaching profession and brought to light worries about its attractiveness.

Whilst other other people have presented contrasting points of view.  Régis Malet, an education professor at the University of Bordeaux, ascribed the shortages to “the low level of wages… but also the deterioration of working conditions, status, and [a] more symbolic dimension strongly felt… [about a] lack of consideration [and] recognition.”  After having been “a job with high added social value, prestige,” as he put it, teaching has evolved into something of a doubt in the purpose, loss of meaning, and finally dissonance between the school and life.

Due to the exceptionally high number of applicants, the French government has decided to extend the application deadline for the 2023–2024 academic year.

According to Charbonnier, the upcoming retirement of a significant number of educators in the countries of Germany, Portugal, Sweden, and Italy would worsen the current teacher shortages in those countries. According to data provided by the OECD, the proportion of primary school teachers who are 50 years old or older varies greatly across countries. While sixty percent of teachers in Italy are of this age or older, only 37 percent of teachers in Germany, 42 percent in Portugal, 23 percent in Sweden, and 60 percent in Sweden are of this age or older.


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