Desperate Schools – Teacher Shortages: Parents’ Real Concerns – News


“As a mother, I would be worried” – Dagmar Rösler surprised the nation with this worrying statement in the Tamedia newspapers this morning. When she says that, you have to sit up and take notice, because Ms. Rösler is president of the umbrella organization for teachers. When the head teacher tells the parents about the lack of teachers in the schools “concerns”, then as a mother or father you have them too.

Only: Do you have to worry about lateral entrants who fill in the gaps as teachers? Or are career changers part of the solution? There are not too many cases of lateral entrants being overwhelmed due to a lack of vocational training, not even in the canton of Schaffhausen, where lateral entrants have been used for many years. And in the largest school region – Canton Zurich – only 783 people out of 9678 teachers* are not fully qualified.

But parents of the children affected may be justifiably surprised when a former university assistant stands in front of the class who can do arithmetic and write, but who does not have a full pedagogical education.

Cantons have slept through the lack of staff

School authorities and those responsible for politics in the cantons should be worried. The authorities should have been better able to anticipate the two main factors in the shortage of teachers – many teachers are reaching retirement age, more children in schools: both could be foreseen.

Politicians have slept a bit, says the competent Schaffhausen government council self-critically to Radio SRF. After all.

The fact that many cantons panic every summer and yearn for trained teachers, cast career changers, school children make job advertisements themselves or (have to) search for a teacher while singing in videos – this should not be a permanent situation, and yet it has been with us for years.

Nevertheless, there are still (!) no national figures on the shortage of teachers or the number of career changers – a dark side of the fragmented educational landscape. And an inability of the cantonal authorities or the coordination by the EDK, the Federal Conference of Education Directors.

Fewer and fewer are working full-time

The umbrella organization of teachers should also be concerned: the workload of fully qualified teachers has also been falling for years. Today, not even every third teacher works full-time as a teacher.

As a solution, the association has been calling for higher wages for years, among other things, in order to make the profession more attractive. Dagmar Rösler told Radio SRF yesterday that Geneva does not have a shortage of teachers – because of the highest wages in the country, says Rösler.

The president of the association did not mention that Geneva is the only canton that has a minimum workload for teachers – namely at least 50 percent. In all other cantons, a total of 34,685 teachers* work less than 50% – if they were all employed according to the Geneva model, the teacher shortage would possibly be over.

What is left for the parents? Watching politicians doze off a bit, helping themselves with career changers and teachers working less and less. There really is a need to worry.

* Source: Federal Statistical Office, survey 2020/21

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