Give all teachers same basic training, advisory body says

Teacher and Student
A teacher and student at school. ()

Have all teachers, from primary to secondary education and from pre-school to secondary vocational education, follow the same basic teacher training, after which they can specialize if they wish, the Education Council said in advice to parliament. This will make the profession more attractive and thus help solve the teacher shortage, the Council said, RTL Nieuws reports.

According to the Council, teacher training needs a "radical revision". The work structure needs to be adjusted. And teachers should have more opportunities to specialize. This will make it easier for teachers to switch from one education sector to another, something that is currently very difficult, the Council said.

"More mobility, more choices in the teaching task and the emphasis on learning together make the profession more attractive, also for beginners. All this can help reduce the teacher shortages in certain sectors or courses, without sacrificing quality", the Council said. 

"This contributes to solving the teacher shortage because you then have teachers who can teach across the sectors. So a primary school teacher can also teach at a secondary school or a secondary vocational school", Henriette Maassen van den Brink, chairman of the Education Council, explained to RTL Nieuws. This change needs to be implemented within 5 years, Maassen van den Brink added. "And everyone can shout that it will cost a lot of money, but I see it differently. Because now we have so many incidental measures that millions go to and we don't know the effectiveness of."

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, requested advice from the Education Council due to the increasingly acute teacher shortage facing the Netherlands. Schools across the country increasingly have to take creative measures to avoid having to send a class home if their teacher is ill.

A primary school in Hoorn is asking parents to fill in for sick teachers. Schools in Zaanstad are switching to 4-day school weeks. Amsterdam is filing the gaps with a team of officials, and highly qualified refugees. The city is also looking into the possibility of putting almost graduated students, with extra guidance, in front of a class room.

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