Teacher shortage will cause school closures in large cities, aldermen warn
Schools in the Netherlands' large cities will soon start closing as a result of enormous teacher shortages, the Education aldermen of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague said to newspaper AD. All three cities have neighborhoods where schools are slowly going under.
A recent letter to parliament on teacher shortages showed that The Hague has a 14.9 percent shortage, Rotterdam 12.7 percent, and Amsterdam 12.5 percent. In The Hague, the shortages are most problematic in Laak and Escamp. In Rotterdam, Feijenoord and IJsselmonde are struggling most. And in Amsterdam the problems are biggest in Nieuw-West.
The Hague alderman Hilbert Bredemeijer visits the struggling schools regularly. "A silent disaster takes place there. The appalling shortage of teachers will soon lead to situations in which we have to close schools."
The current situation in some areas of Rotterdam is "downright worrying", alderman Said Kasmi said to the newspaper. "Sporadically, schools have had to send classes home. The shortages are considerable and will only increase further in the coming years. So we expect major problems in the near future. Then you have to make choices as a school that you don't want to make."
"I have already spoken to several [school] boards this week who say they cannot open certain schools after the summer holidays," Amsterdam alderman Marjolein Moorman said. "Some schools are now working with emergency plans. Then students are offered sports or culture one day a week instead of being taught by a teacher."
In order to address this shortage, and hopefully encourage more people to become teachers, the aldermen want the new Dutch cabinet to close the pay gap between teachers in primary and secondary education. They also want the extra money the government pushed into education to help make up for coronavirus backlogs to become a permanent and structural investment.