Two studies have forecast a serious deficit of teaching employees in Germany by the year 2030, with one study suggesting that the country’s school system could be in need of 81.000 teachers.
Two studies have suggested that Germany will experience a significant shortage of teachers in 2030, although they disagree on the severity of the shortage. According to a study presented to the Conference of Ministers of Education (Kultusministerkonferenz), the assembly of Germany’s state education ministers, in December 2020, there will be a shortage of 20.000 teachers by 2025. This is expected to be alleviated by 2030, with the shortage dropping to 14.000.
The other study, commissioned by the Education and Training Association (VBE), was headed by Klaus Klemm and came to the conclusion that the teacher shortage in Germany would be far more severe by 2030. Klemm’s study found that, by 2025, there would be a shortage of 45.000 teachers, and this would keep growing to reach a deficit of 81.000 teachers by 2030. The deficit is largely being driven by an increase in student numbers and a growing number of teachers going into retirement.
The two studies, while using similar forecasts for student numbers and demand for teachers, tell two completely different stories in terms of the future teacher shortage. Klemm referred to the education ministers’ model as “dubious,” and suggested that the ministers may have underestimated the lack of younger people training to be teachers.
Germany’s education ministers expect as many as 349.000 newly trained teachers to be deployed across the country between 2020 and 2030. However, Klemm assumes that only 286.000 newly trained teachers will be deployed in this time period. “Even if it were possible to significantly increase the proportion of first-year students who aspire to a teaching position as early as 2022, this would only be reflected in an increase in the number of newly trained teachers at the end of the 2020s.”
Schools in Germany currently face a number of challenges, including problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic, digitisation, inclusion, social support and all-day schooling. Klemm further criticised the education ministers’ calculations for not including several policies, which have already been approved by the government – including the legal right to all-day care, inclusion and social support – that will amount to an additional need for 69.000 jobs, but were excluded from the ministers’ calculations.
Klemm expects that the shortage of teachers will hit STEM subjects, such as the sciences, technology, maths and engineering, particularly hard. “An analysis for North Rhine-Westphalia, which tends to be transferrable to the other federal states, has shown that by 2030, newly trained teachers will only be available for a third of the positions for STEM teachers that then have to be filled,” he said.
The chairmen of the VBE, Udo Beckmann, claims that the education system, particularly in primary schools, is massively underfunded and, under the given framework conditions, pupils can no longer be given the necessary individual support they require. The VBE has called for a number of changes to be made to help combat this, including improving the availability and conditions of study places and support, as well as making jobs more attractive and calling on politicians to step in.
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William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.
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