Do you already know how many teachers were placed, how many were left out and how many subjects are being severely harmed with the lack of appreciation of the teaching career? The answers, as usual, right away!
How many teachers have already been placed?
Almost 13 teachers have already been placed for the next academic year 2022/2023, of which about 7.000 correspond to new teachers, according to an announcement by the Minister of Education João Costa.
In other words, 97,7% of the timetables requested in this phase (13.101 timetables) have a teacher assigned. And so far everything seems very encouraging, but only until we ask ourselves about…
How many teachers are to be placed?
At this stage, of the full 22 hours that were left unfilled, the Minister of Education said that 80% (the overwhelming majority!) are from the same recruitment group. Which recruiting group? Computing! Which areas of the country have the greatest lack of computer teachers? Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, Alentejo and Algarve.
Why does the IT discipline have 80% of vacancies unfilled?
Because the profession of computer teacher has been undervalued and, therefore, seen by young people as an unattractive and unrewarding way out in financial terms, since working in a company brings more immediate economic advantages and more possibilities for career progression, in the future compared to public education.
Why are there no teachers?
Because our teaching class is aged, retired or with one foot in retirement, and because there is little demand from young people.
Everything indicates that, this year alone, more than 2.800 teachers were or will be retired and that, in the next decade, Portugal will lose 40% of teachers.
However, such frightening forecasts led the Ministry of Education to think of measures to try to stop the problem. And if you thought them, you better do them!
What is the solution given by the Ministry of Education?
The order is still being finalized, but everything indicates that the qualifications required for teaching will be changed. What does that mean? Will we only have master teachers and doctorates?
No, it's practically the opposite... The Government, in a kind of personalization of the proverb that says that "who doesn't have a dog, hunts with a cat", is considering an amendment to the order of teaching qualifications (still during the first period of the year academic year 2022/2023).
What will it allow? Extend the range of candidates for teaching with the inclusion of unlicensed teachers in the education system, as long as they have sufficient training to teach the subject in question.
The Ministry of Education will also expand the range of degrees accepted for teaching computer science (and other subjects) during the first period of this coming year.
Until then, only teachers with professional qualifications with a lot of experience, professional teachers (with a master's degree via teaching) and teachers with their own qualification (graduates and masters with pre-Bologna scientific courses) can teach.
What is the opinion of the teachers unions?
Unanimous! Teacher unions fear that these measures, instead of resulting in a greater number of candidates, will translate into a greater number of unqualified teachers who, ultimately, will neglect the quality of teaching in Portugal.
But it is not just the unions that fear returning to the system of the last century, many teachers and directors of public and private schools are in disagreement with the return to minimum qualifications, because they believe that it is qualified and experienced teachers that students need most.
The valorization of the profession is the first demand of the unions and that is why this “turning a blind eye” by the Minister of Education does not at all respond to the requests of teachers, who want salary increases, the end of the limitation by number of vacancies to career progression, recovery of service time, among other changes to the recruitment and mobility regime, such as the residence allowance for teachers who are stationed far from home.
What does this friend of yours defend?
As the CEO of a Digital Marketing agency, I advocate quality education that gives students all the tools to succeed in the job market. And as a computer teacher, I guarantee that a good computer scientist doesn't lack work… well paid!
And if you can't find it in Portugal, you can find it abroad and without having to leave in Europe, as there are six countries where the average salary (from the lowest to the highest) is 5.000 euros per month: Iceland, Luxembourg , Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Therefore, if it is to improve the quality of life and meet new people, new cultures and more innovative work processes, there is no harm in going to work outside Portugal.
Now, if our young people are “pushed” abroad for lack of government measures to insure assets, the case changes! In both cases, who stays here?
Less competent professionals, namely those who decide to insist on working in the area of computing, take advantage of the Ministry's benefits and teach students from all education cycles, jeopardizing the "dreams" of students who want to work in the area of computing or who one day they would like to open their own company in Portugal.
Moreover, and by way of conclusion, the scenario of recent years was already in the red line, with the majority of teachers applying for a timetable, with only the minimum qualification (and not the necessary training) to teach the ICT subject, the optional subjects of Informatics of regular education, the CEF subjects of basic education and the subjects of the different professional computer courses.
Author Luís Horta, professor of Informatics at the João de Deus School Group, is the author of his institutional website and responsible for the Group's external communication. 27 years of experience as a teacher in Secondary Education, 5 years of experience as a teacher in Higher Education, more than 1000 hours of adult training. Managing Partner of Webfarus Digital Marketing.