Expatica news

New Dutch teachers face jobs drought

29 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch educational system faces the prospect of a serious shortage of qualified teachers in the years ahead, but there are currently few job vacancies for newly trained primary school teachers, it was reported on Monday.

Experts fear that the shortage of available work will drive young Pabo-trained teachers out of the profession before the anticipated shortage manifests itself in the years ahead as thousands of primary school teachers reach retirement age, newspaper Algemeen Dagblad said.

“That situation would be very bad as everyone knows there will be a pressing need for them (new teachers) in a few years,” Professor Marc Vermeulen of the Open University told the paper.

The Council of HBO colleges which incorporates the 37 Pabo (primary school teacher education) training centres has confirmed the shortage of work for new primary school teachers is a problem that is particularly acute in the big cities.

In 2002, politicians and educational bodies sounded the alarm about the coming problem of the leraar tekort, or teacher shortage, which will hit both the primary and secondary school systems.

To tackle the problem, the government had launched a drive to get more people – including people already working in other sectors of the economy – to train as teachers for both primary and secondary education.

For instance several expats are part of an accelerated programme that will allow them to graduate as English teachers in three years, instead of four.

But due to the larger classes in training colleges there is also a growing problem of finding trainee placements in schools.

The first spike in teacher shortages quickly disappeared however due to the worsening economic situation as many people with teaching degrees left the uncertainty of the business world for the safe haven of a teaching job.

Applicants to teacher training colleges have risen by 15 percent as many other workers and school leavers have also opted for a career as a teacher.

Vermuelen warned that the absence of work for newly qualified teachers is creating an “extraordinarily risky situation” because 120,000 teachers are due to retire over the next 10 years. The main impact of the retirements is expected in 2007.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news + education in the Netherlands