Half of Dutch schools short 1 to 6 teachers for next academic year
Half of the primary- and secondary schools in the Netherlands have 1 to 6 unfilled positions at their school for the upcoming academic year. Five percent are even looking for seven or more teachers, the Telegraaf reports based on a survey among 1,250 teachers by Radboud University in Nijmegen.
The teacher shortage affects schools nationwide, from shrinking regions to the big four cities. Many schools are considering drastic measures.
The board of the Christian School Community Walcheren, with secondary schools in Middelburg and Vlissingen, even sent parents a letter asking them to help recruit teachers over the summer vacation. The school community has vacancies for French, Dutch, philosophy, technology, physics, and chemistry, among others.
“It is very conceivable that we’ll have to give fewer lessons in the lower years school-wide to ensure that the lessons in the upper years can continue,” the Walcheren management wrote to parents, according to the newspaper. “It is also possible that we have to cancel certain activities.”
The Foundation for Working Parents has received “a striking number of messages” about schools considering four-day school weeks, chairman Marjet Winsemuis told the newspaper. “Previously, schools mainly used more substitutes or assistants in the class. Now the tone in the letters to parents is different: it was impossible to find enough teachers. Parents, good luck with that.”
Winsemuis is critical of the schools’ tone. “Schools need to take more responsibility. Of course, education is not childcare. But it is definitely a secondary task. The pessimistic messages from schools lead to stress for parents, including financially. The prospect is that parents will have to work less to care for their children.”
Last month, the Education Council urged the government to consider limiting the educational offer to cope with the teacher shortages. That means pupils will get fewer lessons while the teaching time for teachers remains the same.
“For example, students go to school for four days, and there’s a program at school on the fifth day, but that is not part of the educational offer,” the council said. “This does not have to be provided by qualified teachers, nor does it necessarily have to be mandatory or available for all students.”