The teacher shortage has become a serious problem all across the country. Some schools are looking for IT, English, German, Mathematics, or History teachers, while others lack professors of Physics, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Science, Drawing, clarinet, flute, or physical education. And all this just one week before school starts.
“If you meet a developmental teacher, please bring him/her with you” – the principal of an elite Budapest high school was joking according to a hvg reader, by which he certainly described that teacher shortage is a serious problem in their case as well. Furthermore, other schools are in an even more critical situation.
The Hungarian news portal, hvg.hu, checked the major job posting forum where the following results were found:
Several institutions are looking for teachers of:
- Math – Physics, or Physics with any other specialisation;
- Hungarian – and any other specialisation;
- IT – and any other specialisation;
- English – and any other specialisation.
Last year was characterised by the same teacher job vacancies.
Despite the fact that the government “hates” to use the expression ‘teacher shortage,’ we are talking about a long-term problem which is becoming more and more serious. Comparing it to last year, this July, Eduline reported about 3600 vacant jobs, while one year earlier in the same period, only 2000 was counted. Last year, right before school started, a shortage of ‘only’ 700 teachers was registered.
Labour union: ‘Something is going wrong’ vs. Ministry: ‘There is no problem’
According to Tamás Szűcs, Chairman of the Teachers’ Democratic Trade Union (PDSZ), some days ago a 1500 peak could be experienced; however, it is not surprising that the number of vacancies has decreased by the end of summer. The fluctuation can be explained by seasonal reasons: many people resign at the end of the school year; then, this number is reduced because many of them get employed by 20th August. There is a second wave as well, representing those who announce their termination by 20th August, as a result of which, teacher job vacancies rise again.
Last year, the Klebelsberg Centre opposed national teacher shortage, as they reported we can simply talk about a natural fluctuation, resulting from the changes in teachers’ living conditions, retirement, and parenthood. The same explanation was given by Emmi as well. According to the Ministry, we are not suffering from teacher shortage at the moment. What we see is only part of a natural fluctuation. “Fluctuation in schools – just like in previous years – mainly happens during the summer season; if teachers decide to change, they choose this period to realise it, and this process takes place in the forthcoming weeks as well.
The total number of teachers has not changed – 170,000 teachers are working in Hungarian public education. In the last few years, measures have been taken for making the profession more attractive. For example, average wages were increased by 50%, and students preparing for teaching careers are motivated by scholarships.
However, these measures are still not efficient in attracting more youngsters towards this profession. Fewer and fewer people take teaching jobs, the majority of teacher trainees drop out during their studies, and 30% of students who graduated change professions within one year, while another 30% give up on teaching within the next 5-6 years, says Tamás Szűcs.
Teaching is not an attractive profession.
Fresh graduate salaries should be increased which has been realised by the government as well. Therefore, the apprenticeship period has been reduced to one year instead of two years, so the increased gross 40,000 HUF (121 EUR) can be received earlier. But this is not a complex solution as it only raises their net wages to 140,000-150,000 HUF (425-455 EUR), from which making a living is almost impossible. Recently, young teachers have presented their low salaries in desperate posts.
Despite the fact that Emmi considers the teacher workforce of 170,000 to be a stable number, this figure is deceptive. By the increase of mandatory classes, daily physical education, or by providing activities and daycare until 4 pm, more work is required from the same amount of teachers.
According to the Chairman of PDSZ, the basics should be changed. Teachers are confined by several outdated rules, offering them limited creativity. Regarding this question, no change can be expected yet.
Source: hvg.hu; eduline.hu