More than 26,000 students were without classes last school year due to a lack of teachers, reveals the report “State of Education”, which warns that salaries prevent teachers from accepting vacancies where incomes are high.
The National Council of Education (CNE) analyzed data from the General Directorate of School Administration (DGAE) and concluded that, of the approximately one million students in public education, “26,742 students were affected during the 2021/2022 school year” for lack of teachers in schools from north to south of the country.
“The number of hours without a teacher varied throughout the year, and it was in the month of May that schools reported the highest number of hours for tender and affected students”, says the report “State of Education 2021”, this Thursday. publicized fair.
The most complicated situations were registered with students from schools in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, followed by the Algarve region and the Metropolitan Area of Porto.
According to the CNE, the lack of Portuguese teachers left 2,453 students in classes, as well as 2,166 students without IT, 1,901 without Geography and another 1,867 without English.
But more than a thousand children (1,321) of the 1st cycle were also affected, as well as another 1,010 with special educational needs who, last year, were left without “Special Education” classes.
The list of affected subjects and students is extensive and includes Music or Sign Language classes that were left untaught.
The reasons given by the schools for the lack of teachers included sick teachers, an increase in the number of classes, retirement or paternity leave. Since replacement due to illness covers more than 80% of cases, says the report.
The difficulty in finding a replacement is invariably associated with the cost of living in the regions where the schools are located and the cost of traveling when home is many hundreds of kilometers away.
With work schedules that are sometimes just a few hours a week, teachers can’t make ends meet: “The cost of living, especially in terms of housing, has made it difficult for teachers to travel and settle in these regions“, stresses the report.
For several years, unions have been demanding measures from the Ministry of Education, such as the creation of a kind of housing and transport subsidy so that teachers can accept vacancies in schools that are far from home.
Several studies have alerted to the need to hire more teachers for schools, since this is an aging class and with each passing year there are more who retire.
A portrait made to the class shows that 22% of teachers in public schools on the continent are at least 60 years old, which “means that in the next six or seven years these teachers will be able to leave the educational system, due to retirement“, says the study.
Two years ago, in the 2020/2021 school year, more than half of teachers (55%) were at least 50 years old. The only exception was in the 1st cycle, where those over 50 represented 42.1% of all primary teachers.
Another problem identified in the report is that there are few young people interested in the profession.
“The demand for courses that confer professional qualification for teaching has been decreasing in recent years and the number of graduates in these courses may not be enough to meet the future needs of teachers”, warns the report.