Netherlands struggles to find qualified teachers; Shortage hits Amsterdam hard
More and more students are entering teacher training with a too-low language level. The Universities of Applied Sciences are trying to catch the students up but don’t want to hold teachers back due to the teacher shortage, AD reports. In Amsterdam, the teacher shortage is getting so bad that primary schools in the capital are considering dramatic changes to how education is arranged, according to Parool.
A survey conducted by AD among teachers found that only 5 percent of teachers that give Dutch at primary school think that new graduates will be able to teach kids the “formulation” and “punctuation” components of the Dutch curriculum. Half of the current Dutch teachers think that new graduates can teach the writing part of the curriculum.
According to the newspaper, universities of applied sciences recommend that future teachers continue language lessons and other training after qualifying. Keeping teachers-in-training back to improve their language skills is not a good option, given the growing teacher shortage in the county.
Amsterdam has been trying to decrease the teacher shortage to less than 5 percent for years. But despite the municipality pushing 23 million euros into recruiting 500 new teachers by this year and putting non-teachers in front of classes for certain subjects, the teacher shortage is still massive. The association of Amsterdam school boards in primary education, BBO, will therefore extend the interventions from the emergency plan for the next five to ten years, school administrators Harry Dobbelaar (Zonova), Marton de Pinth (Innoord), and Theo Hooghiemstra (AWBR) told Parool on behalf of the 40 school boards united in the BBO.
“The classic image of education in which we put one teacher in front of one class is going to disappear,” De Pinth told the newspaper. Pupils will be taught by changing professionals like artists, accountants, and musicians, while a qualified teacher plays a coordinating role.
The BBO is also looking at merging some of the smaller primary schools in the city. Amsterdam is changing, and education has to move along with it, the association said. The current supply does not match the demand. Three years ago, the city had 39 primary schools with less than 196 pupils. “We have to move or merge schools.”
The BBO stressed that schools wouldn’t close but would move and reopen at a new location, maybe under a new name. If possible, the BBO wants to convert empty school buildings into affordable housing for teachers.