Back to school: 1 in 4 Flemish schools still looking for teachers

The new school year starts on Friday in Flanders, but far from all teaching vacancies have been filled. A survey on Tuesday showed that one in four headteachers is still looking for at least one teacher. 

Flanders has long struggled with a severe teacher shortage. A survey by the Education Association of Cities and Municipalities (OVSG) shows that the shortage is persisting just before the start of the new school year, with one in 10 schools losing at least one teacher during the summer holidays.

Six out of 10 headteachers report that the shortage in their school is the same or worse than last year. Only 17 per cent say the shortage has eased, and 23 per cent say they are not facing a deficit.

The shortage is also felt in other ways. One in five headteachers says it is an argument for not creating additional capacity or offering new subjects, for example.

Flemish minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA, Flemish nationalists) has taken several measures to tackle the shortage, including introducing different teacher profiles with varying salaries. However, the OVSG survey shows that headteachers find the rules too complex to implement a flexible personnel policy.

"We advocate a learning career in teaching. That way, you get different team profiles, each with a clear role and being valued for it," said OVSG general director Walentina Cools. "Teaching assistants, teachers, policy officers, care coordinators and the manager together form a strong team. Every professional in education should be well trained and continue to professionalise: bachelors as well as all masters and teaching assistants."



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