“Let’s go on focusing on teaching careers”

di Laura Di Masi

According to Eurydice report, the United Kingdom (England and Wales) are going to increase the recruitment of graduates from certain subjects. In England, the Department for Education offers training bursaries and scholarships to attract graduates into teaching. The most required subjects are: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computing, languages and geography. In Wales, teacher training incentives are offered to train to teach “specified” subjects in shortage in secondary education. The highest incentives apply to studying mathematics, Welsh, physics and chemistry, followed by modern foreign languages and ICT/computer science.

Unfortunately in Wales a huge number of teaching vacancies remaining unfilled, and schools’ ability to fill them varies greatly by subject, area, school or role. While  In 2015, the Czech Republic made an Amendment to the Act on Education Staff to prevent the problem of lack of teachers. The Act contains a lot of measures to open up the recruitment of teachers, also accepting people with different qualifications. Another strategy for Education Policy of the Czech Republic until 2020 is the funds increasing for salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff in education.

Although shortages and oversupply seem to be contradictory, they strangely co-exist in several countries due to a not balanced distribution of teachers for subjects and geographical areas. Same problem in Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Liechtenstein and Montenegro. In Germany, for instance, there is a huge number of teachers for general education subjects at Gymnasium on one side, while on the other there is a shortage of teachers in vocational subjects at upper secondary level or in vocational schools.  In Greece, a shortage of teachers in some areas co-exists with a general oversupply of teachers due to a stop in recruitment of permanent teaching staff. Because of the economic crisis, the educational authority does not got permanent teachers but instead covers the vacancies by employing provisional staff.

In Italy, recent policies try to solve the oversupply in some subjects and in some geographical areas that had a “waiting lists of qualified teachers”. A special enrol plan was made in 2015/16 in order to solve the long-standing problem of teachers “waiting lists” (graduatorie ad esaurimento). In fact, more than 85.000 teachers, who have been employed on short-term contracts for long, are now teachers on a permanent basis.

Later a legislative decree on ITE (Initial teacher education) approved in April 2017, prospective secondary education teachers holding their Master’s degree and 24 credits in the pedagogical areas will have to pass an open competition to enrol in a one-year university specialisation followed by a two-year traineeship. During the traineeship they will gradually take on teaching roles including replacements for absent teachers, avoiding lists of temporary teachers. At the end of the three years, if they pass the assessment they are employed permanently.

Lithuania has same shortages in rural areas, too. In any case the main challenge is teachers oversupply. In fact teachers often are not employed full time and with a  low salary and this, of course, makes the profession unattractive for the youth. In many other countries, too (such as: Cyprus, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia), the main challenge is oversupply.

Another problem is the ageing workforce and teacher retention due to the demographic trends, 16 countries are challenged with an ageing teachers population. The latest Eurostat data shows that 36 % of teachers in primary and secondary schools were 50 years old or more in 2015, take note that in Italy 57% teachers have this age, but this happens not only in Italy, in fact we find high proportions also in Bulgaria, Estonia and Lithuania  Germany and Latvia. About nine per cent of teachers in the EU were over 60, with the highest shares in Italy and Estonia. The average age of teachers in the workforce is increasing year-on-year while teachers aged under 30 is decreasing.

Laura Di Masi

Napoletana ma casertana di adozione. I miei studi: Liceo classico – Laurea in lingue. Diploma post lauream Traduttore /interprete. Non nasco come docente, infatti per un decennio sono stata la responsabile ufficio estero di una importante azienda di import/export, divento insegnante per vocazione. La scuola è la mia passione. Vincitrice di concorso a cattedra con max votazione mi abilito per insegnare inglese alla secondaria di I e II grado. Incomincio e continuo tuttora con entusiasmo. Funzione strumentale Area scuola e territorio e Ptof. Membro consiglio d’istituto. Tutor Pon di lingua. Docente ref. E-twinning. Funzione di docente specialista in metodologia Clil ( in Storia e Scienze). Adoro il mio lavoro, credo sia uno tra i piu’ stimolanti e creativi ma di grande responsabilita’… alleviamo menti. Mi piace viaggiare, ascoltare musica e stare in mezzo alla gente.

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