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How can the teacher shortage in Aargau be remedied?

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Increase workload or teach half a lesson more: Can the shortage of teachers be solved in this way?

The Aargau government can imagine introducing minimum wages for teachers, as required by the FDP. However, the government council does not think much of the SVP demand that all teachers should teach half a lesson more. Although 120 fewer full-time positions would be necessary.

Director of Education Alex Hürzeler at the start of school on August 8th in class S3b in Muri – the shortage of teachers was also a big issue at the time.

Sandra Ardizzone

Almost two months have passed since school started in Aargau, but the shortage of teachers is still a major concern in cantonal politics. In recent weeks, the government council has responded to several requests from the Grand Council, which called for measures to solve the problem.

Stefan Wolter, co-author of the national education report and professor of educational economics at the University of Bern, told CH Media three years ago: “If the shortage worsens, the cantons will have to discuss a compulsory workload.” A minimum workload of 30 to 50 percent is conceivable, the expert stated.

In view of the fact that an above-average number of primary school teachers work part-time in Aargau, the FDP called for the introduction of minimum work hours. The government is ready to accept this request, as it stated in mid-September. She writes that this could help alleviate the tense situation on the teaching job market.

Government is examining measures for higher workloads for teachers

In a response to an initiative by three SVP council members published on Friday, the government council refers to the “Magis” project, which aims to secure the personnel requirements for the elementary school. Measures would be examined “that contribute to a further sustainable increase in the level of employment of teachers,” writes the government.

In the 2020/21 school year, the average workload for teachers in kindergarten and primary school was 64 percent, and 67 percent in the upper school. The proportion of teachers who work less than 50 percent was 34 percent in kindergarten and primary school, and 28 percent in the upper school.

SVP councilors want half a lesson more for all teachers

On the other hand, the government said no to two motions by Tonja Burri and Miro Barp (both SVP), which demanded an increase in teacher workloads by 0.5 lessons at elementary school and middle school. The government council concedes that wage costs could be saved and around 120 fewer full-time positions would be needed.

However, an increase in the normal workload would lead to a deterioration in employment conditions and weaken Aargau’s ability to compete with the surrounding cantons. More than 9,100 primary school teachers would be affected, the government council warns and states:

“Although the annual working time remains the same, the implementation of this measure would probably be interpreted by the teachers as additional work and thus as an indirect wage cut and as a lack of appreciation for the work done.”

According to the government council, the effect of the implemented revision of the “Arcus” wage system, which made it possible to increase the attractiveness of Aargau as an employer, would also be significantly weakened. His conclusion: “The implementation of such a measure runs counter to the goals of the canton creating and maintaining good, modern and competitive working conditions for school staff.”

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