Teacher shortage: Schoolchildren in Netherlands decry situation in video

Schoolchildren at a primary school in the Netherlands have responded to a national teacher shortage by making a video demanding for candidates to come forward and help make their dreams come true.

Parents made the video of these pupils who believed the situation might be improved by making a short video of their offspring requesting candidates to come to their aids\.

In the short video, schoolchildren talk about various career paths they would like to take, and some said pilot, plumber, acrobat, or director when they grew older.

They followed up with the fact that it’s not possible without an excellent teacher to nurture them. The last child to speak stated he wanted to become a teacher because they have a teacher shortage.

The parents of the schoolchildren also wrote on the website of the Wereldboom school in Amsterdam, appealing for candidates to step forward and take up the mantle of nurturing the children.

The problem of teacher shortage is particularly acute in major cities where emergency measures taken by headteachers include implementing a four-day week or having unqualified people teach lessons.

Notably, recently, 16 primary schools in the Nieuw-West area of Amsterdam closed their doors for a week as headteachers sought to reorganize in the face of teacher shortages.

Various secondary schools have also complained that the crisis has resulted in may children being unprepared for the level of learning when they move up from primary school.

Teacher shortage in the Netherlands

The national shortage of teachers is reported to worsen this year, with around 1,400 vacancies unfilled while schoolchildren are returning to school after the summer holidays.

Globally, governments are struggling to curtail the shortage of teachers. The number is much higher than that at the start of the current school year when 1,300 positions still had to be filled.

The majority of the posts are for teachers, but the number also includes 400 support staff and 320 headteachers.

Data from the Unesco Institute for Statistics (UIS) suggests that 33 countries will not have enough staff to provide quality education to all their school-age children by 2030.

Another published survey indicated that the national shortage of teachers would grow to 10,000 by 2027, with schools in the Randstad worst affected.

The education inspectorate warned in April that inequality was being exacerbated by the lack of qualified teachers in disadvantaged areas.

Teacher shortage in schools where more than 75 percent of pupils have a non-western migrant background has around four times as many vacancies as those where the proportion is 25 percent or less.

Government reaction

In a bid to address the teacher shortage, the Dutch cabinet earlier announced it would invest 460 million euros in the education sector.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said:

The money would be put mainly towards conditions being negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement with the teachers, but also to reduce their demanding workload.

The education sector had previously expressed extreme disappointment with Rutte’s and his cabinet for an unwillingness to meaningfully increase spending in the sector.