Education authorities in Flanders on Thursday expressed concern about a shortage of teachers, with the opening of the new school year just a week and a half away.
Vacancies in many schools risk not being filled, according to both Catholic and municipal school authorities, who are calling on the Flemish Government to take action.
It is still too early to put a figure to the shortage, regional, municipal and Flemish education officials say. Many schools are still recruiting, but it is clear that the shortage of teachers, decried for a long time, continues.
According to GO!, which administers the official education system in Flanders, it is even the first time that the municipal schools have not managed to fill a certain number of vacant posts. It hopes the next Flemish government will organise an in-depth debate on the issue.
“The shortage of teachers is a major threat to the quality of education,” Lieven Boeve, director-general of Flemish Catholic Education, warned on Radio 1. He sees job-market pressure as one of the reasons for the shortage.
“Persons with teaching diplomas are also popular in the other sectors,” he stressed.
An entire generation of teachers has, moreover, reached retirement age whereas the number of students is on the increase.