Successfully tackling the teacher shortage requires considerably more than what education ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven and Arie Slob have done so far. Education cooperation is too non-committal and teachers need to be more involved in the solutions.
This is the conclusion of independent driver 'Approach Teacher Shortage' Merel van Vroonhoven in a report published on Thursday, which she has been working on since September last year. She did this on behalf of Slob.
"If we don't solve it, it will have a detrimental impact on an entire generation of growing children and young people. This is even more the case for children and young people who are already in vulnerable positions," is the alarming message from Van Vroonhoven.
In her view, things go wrong with a lack of direction. "My findings show that the approach is now too limited, too fragmented and based too little on the facts and figures, which can hardly be gathered at the moment," writes Van Vroonhoven.
"Collaboration within the regions, actually within the entire education system, is very early and frankly far too non-committal."
It must therefore be established by law for school boards and teacher training programs to work well together.
Crucial to involve teachers in solutions
Because there is a lack of strength and direction in tackling the teacher shortage, Van Vroonhoven recommends setting up a task force. That task force should also focus on "combating the outflow and creeping shortage of school leaders".
In the eyes of Van Vroonhoven, the school leaders in particular are so important for the reception and guidance of new teachers. The cabinet announced on Thursday that it would work with a task force.
Van Vroonhoven, former chairman of the AFM board and who works in education, also calls it "crucial" that the professional group itself is involved in tackling the problem. They experience the pain of the teacher shortage on a daily basis and can therefore play a role in solving it. "I see this across the board and is really an important point of attention."
Teacher shortages will increase even further in the coming years
Much has already been done, Van Vroonhoven acknowledges. For example, the Cabinet has released extra money to tackle the teacher shortage, among other things. "Many people are hard at work tackling this multi-headed monster."
However, this is not enough and the teacher shortage threatens to rise even further. In 2024, the shortage in primary education will increase by 1,970 full-time jobs and in secondary education by 1,300.
"A major and growing social problem," says Van Vroonhoven. In major cities in particular, "serious interventions" are needed to enable all children to go to school. There are unauthorized teachers in front of the class or students are only taught four days a week.
More attention should also be paid to "the salary issue" for primary school teachers. "This is necessary for the recognition of the subject, to retain teachers and to increase the appeal of the profession," writes Van Vroonhoven. Slob has already indicated that no more money will be added during this cabinet term.