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Education Minister plans to solve teacher shortage by asking companies to lend out staff

The Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist) has drawn up a plan to tackle the issue of teacher shortages in Flemish education. Under the plan companies will be able to lend out staff to go and teach in schools. Schools will be able to employ “guest teachers” rather like universities and colleges employ “guest lecturers”. 

According, to figures from the Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Service VDAB there are currently 3,000 vacancies for teaching posts in Flemish schools. The true number of vacancies is higher still as not all schools inform VDAB that they have a vacancies.

Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ the Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts announced a new plan to tackle the issue of staff shortages in our schools.

"Gast teachers will be able to teach in all schools, also in primary education. They will build bridges between schools and companies. Because schools have vacancies for a limited number of hours for example 5 hours of French or 6 hours of maths. Companies can send there staff to go and work in schools on top of their normally working hours. There they can help train future staff”. 

Education aptitude certificate

Mr Weyts went on to say that “service contracts between companies and schools will be able to be take effect from the start of the new school year.

"In the event of restructuring, companies can then give their staff a different job full or part time. Employees keep their full salary, but they can start teaching. Education pays the teacher's wage costs, the company paying for the rest" Mr Weyts said.

The Education Minister says that his plan only has winners. "People from the private sector have different knowledge and insights.”

Employees who are seconded part-time or full-time must be in possession of present an "Educational competence certificate". "We will focus on people who have completed teacher training but are not currently in education."

Those who are seconded will not be put in front of a class on their own. "We are now collaborating with the existing teacher training program to provide increased coaching. But we are also considering devising a starter pack with didactic tips and tricks."

Proposals will need to be discussed first

Mr Weyts' will still need to discuss his proposals with the trade unions and the education boards. He hopes that everyone will take an open-minded approach to the measures.

In a response to the Education Minister’s plans the Christian trade union ACV said that it fears that the will increase work pressure on permanent teaching staff.

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