It is, unfortunately, the “chestnut” subject of the start of the school year, that is to say the one that can be rewritten each year.
The shortage of teachers is still very present, and the pandemic has shown it again in a glaring way when it was necessary to replace sick teachers.
The findings are quite clear: the profession attracts less, it is often also a second choice of study for students. And another alarming point: one in four teachers leaves the profession after one year.
Back to school is Wednesday. But school administrators have been hard at work for a long time to find all the teachers and organize the timetables. If for a good number of schools the problem does not yet arise, on the other hand as soon as it is necessary to replace an absent professor, it risks getting stuck. As confirmed by Françoise Colinia, prefect of the Athénée de Mons. “Apart from a history professor, in the lower level, I have all my teachers for the start of the school year. But during the year, looking for replacements will remain problematic, especially in Dutch and mathematics. Last year, 4 professors took over to replace the colleague who went on maternity leave“.
Damien Desmont is director of the Institut Saint-Luc, a technical and vocational school in Mons. “There is the image of education which is tarnished, and which should be rehabilitated. Make no mistake: there is also the salary, a young graduate, with a master’s degree in his pocket who enters education is not going to gain a lot compared to the private sector. The image of teaching and teachers, often seen as people who do not work very much. Maybe 20 to 22 hours in class but there are also all the hours of preparation, corrections, then the burden of managing a group of young people, it is not always easy “.
In his technical and vocational school Damien Desmont therefore turned to freelancers. “This is a good way, because in education you cannot guarantee a permanent job. With a freelance, we can work out a few hours, and then afterwards if he likes it, he can increase his hours and then pass his CAP (Certificate of teaching skills), on the other hand, if it is someone who already has a CDI or a CDD who presents himself, we can only guarantee him a job until June 30. “