Growing teacher shortage: Dutch primary schools hire students to teach

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Primary schools in the Netherlands are facing an increasing shortage in available teachers, especially in the Randstad area. This has reached such an extent that many education students now already have a teaching job in their second year of training - quite a contrast to a few years ago when graduated teachers had trouble finding work, the Volkskrant reports.

According to the newspaper, most education students now have a paid job before they have their diploma. And schools compete with each other to get the best student, training manager of iPabo in Amsterdam said to the newspaper. "They offer students a laptop or extra training, if they'd only come work with them."

iPabo considers this a good way to gain work experience, but also worries that teachers-in-training are thrown into the deep-end too quickly. That could lead to burnouts or dropouts. 

The General Education Union is also concerned about this development. The union is worried that too much pressure is put on young people in the profession.

The Netherlands currently has a shortage of about 900 primary school teachers. The expectation is that the shortage will only increase. According to research agency Centerdata, if nothing changes the primary school teacher shortage will increase to 4 thousand in three years' time and to 10 thousand by 2025.

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