The 1st school term ends today and after three months of classes around 10,000 students are still without a teacher in some subjects, reflecting the same old worrying problem once again.
The 2021/2022 school year is the third within the pandemic, but on top of the constraints imposed by Covid-19, the 1st term of this school year students are facing what is becoming the ‘usual’ problem that worries school principals and unions: the hours in the lesson timetable that remain unfilled.
According to a survey made by the National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof), there are around 10,000 students who are now on Christmas vacation without having had classes in all subjects, due to a lack of teachers.
The most affected subjects are the usual ones: Portuguese with 27 hours to fill (13.8% of the total), English (24 hours), Physics and Chemistry (18) and Informatics (17).
By region, and similarly to what happened in previous years, the schools with more difficulty in filling all the timetables are in Lisbon, which on Wednesday had 90 timetables incomplete, equivalent to 46.6% of the total, followed by Setúbal (53) and Faro (14).
In November, the Government announced the creation of a ‘task-force’ to help schools that still lack teachers, as they are not able to fill all the timetables even after resorting to hiring a school.
However, “The ‘task-force’ may have had an effect in one case or another, but we do not need a ‘task-force’, we need a structural investment”, defended the president of the National Association of Directors of Groupings and Public Schools (ANDAEP).
Classes without teachers is not a current problem, its resolution is becomingly increasingly urgent. The current ‘solution’ of allocating extra hours to teachers who are already in place is much criticised by teaching unions, and not ideal for directors. The teachers, who are already tired, are even more overloaded.
Teachers say they have been informed that overtime hours will be mandatory and that this distribution of hours among teachers does not require superior authorisation. Fenprof see this “as a form of threat, teachers are told that absences from overtime will have to be justified, otherwise disciplinary proceedings will be opened”.
DISCUSS: What should change with the current system?
Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/