Teacher shortage 'biggest threat to quality of education'
The greatest threat to the quality of Flemish education is a shortage of teachers, Flanders’ education inspectorate said in its annual report, published on Wednesday. “The deficit is growing in size and the end is not yet in sight,” inspectors say. There are currently thousands of vacancies for teachers across the region.
The bar to employment in education is rightly high, says the inspectorate, but the teacher shortage is placing additional burdens on schools. Other challenges include the effects of the pandemic, societal changes, changing interpretations of the role of a teacher, policy changes and innovations.
But the teacher shortage is “undoubtedly the biggest threat”. “The ongoing search [for staff] is accompanied by gaps in school operations and requires a lot of energy from principals,” the annual report reads. “Moreover, it creates new forms of inequality among pupils.” While there are good examples of how schools are dealing with this creatively and enrolment in teacher training colleges is increasing, “the situation is and remains pressing”.
Last week, Flemish education minister Ben Weyts announced new measures to address the continuing shortage. These include the option for schools to use guest teachers by inviting experts from outside the education sector to give lessons.
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