Instead of filling out registration forms and entering sick notes, teachers should be able to focus more on one thing in the future: the education of the children. That’s why Education Minister Martin Polaschek (ÖVP) announced more money for administrative staff at the state governors’ conference last Friday.
But there is also a lack of teaching staff. In a letter to the Minister of Education and the Vienna Department of Education, the directors of Vienna-Favorites called, among other things, for measures to be taken against the shortage of staff. Johann Heuras, Director of Education in Lower Austria, describes the shortage of teachers as “dramatic” in the Ö1 interview: “We are in a very precarious situation here, the teacher situation is becoming more and more dramatic.”
“Can’t find enough with trained staff”
This can be seen, for example, in the preparations for the coming school year, which are currently underway: “We are reaching our limits. In the meantime, of course, we also use many students who are still in training because we can no longer find enough with the trained teaching staff.”
According to Heuras, the teaching staff is particularly lacking in technical subjects, such as mathematics, scientific subjects, creative subjects, but also in the area of special education, as well as in secondary schools, “so the situation is very tense,” said the Lower Austrian education director to the Ö1 morning journal.
According to Thomas Bulant, chairman of the teachers’ union for compulsory school teachers, this is an Austria-wide problem. Evelyn Kometter, Chairwoman of the Parents’ Association for Compulsory Schools, takes the same line: “There is a lack of everything in the education system.” Specialists, teaching staff, administrative support – “there is really a lack of it everywhere.”
Increase in administrative forces
Kometter sees the increase in the number of administrative specialists in schools from 400 to 700 planned by the Minister of Education as the right step. This is also welcomed in Lower Austria, where the current 100 full-time administrative positions are far from sufficient. Director of Education Heuras: “If life were a request concert, then I would certainly need twice the number here.”
The announced increase in social workers in schools is also welcomed. In Salzburg, where school social work has been increasingly used since 2015, the money is just right. But due to the massive expansion, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find social workers, especially in rural areas.
Minister of Education: “Aware of the problem”
Education Minister Martin Polaschek reacted in the Ö1-Mittagsjournal to the Ö1-Mittagsjournal that the shortage of teachers is well known – including the reasons, for example, that training at a teacher training college is often started but not completed, or that graduates do not then go to school. According to the Ministry of Education, various measures are already being worked on. According to Polaschek, “more young people should be motivated to go into this profession again”. There could be adjustments in the study area for this.
The reasons for the staff shortage cannot be pinned down to just one thing. “On the one hand, people are interested in working close to where they live,” but if there weren’t any suitable job offers, some would switch to another profession. “We have to make sure that we motivate them more to really do the job they studied for.” And we have to get more young people excited about the teaching profession.
Considerations on studying for lateral entrants
In addition, it is currently being evaluated how teacher training can be made more modern, the results should be available in the next few weeks. In addition, a lateral entry course should make it easier to switch to the teaching profession.