At the beginning of the 2019 school year, the Brussels region will have 24,000 per year more pupils than in 2013, a study published by the organisation Brussels Studies states. This poses serious challenges not only for school infrastructures, but also for teacher recruitment.
This situation is likely to lead to the recruitment of 436 full-time equivalent teachers (FTEs) at least (of whom 281 are anticipated to be within the French-speaking education community in Brussels). However, the study stresses that if the system absolutely wishes to ensure the optimal education framework, a further 2,000 FTEs will be needed to strengthen the capital’s teaching profession.
Following the population boom noted within the early years sector in recent years, it is within primary education that the demand for new teachers will be most pressing. The number of pupils which the sector will have to accommodate is likely to increase by 13% between now and 2019.
Within the secondary sector, population peaks are logically expected sometime after this period.
To meet these needs for new teachers, several approaches have been explored by researchers, as much at the level of managing demand as the supply of the appropriate volume of teachers.
The demand for new teachers may, in particular, be contained by a limitation in pupil numbers repeating years. This is an avenue which has already been anticipated by the Teaching Excellence Pact, as well as early extra supervision for special needs children, to avoid their eventual streaming into pathways with a greater student/teacher ratio.
Researchers say that so as to manage supply, it is important to adopt initiatives aiming to retain more teachers in the profession, as much at the beginning as the end of their career.
The study recommends recruiting teachers from outside of the capital, as well as from within other activity sectors. However, it goes on to say that it is also important to improve teacher employment conditions, which would contribute to limiting the need to replace them.
Lars Andersen (Source: Belga)