Public schools lost almost 10 thousand teachers in a decade and the biggest drop was until 2014, according to recently released data that also show an increasingly older teaching class in all teaching cycles.
The data appears in the Teacher Profile 2021/2022, published this month by the General Directorate of Education and Science Statistics (DGEEC), which characterizes educators and teachers, from pre-school to secondary education.
At a time when the lack of teachers in schools is once again in the spotlight – thousands of students started the school year without all their teachers – the report reveals that, in a decade, the public sector lost 9.768 teachers, the majority in 2nd and 3rd .th cycles and secondary.
In the 2021/2022 school year, there were 21.139 2nd cycle teachers in public schools (7.280 fewer than in 2011/2012) and 72.195 3rd cycle and secondary teachers (3.258 fewer).
The most problematic period was until 2014. In the 2nd cycle, the number of teachers fell year after year between 2011/2012 and 2014/2015, a period in which schools lost around seven thousand teachers, going from 28.419 to 20.927.
The trend was similar in the 3rd cycle and secondary and, in this case, schools lost more than 10 thousand teachers in just three academic years.
From 2014/2015 onwards, schools were able to recover teachers, but successive increases were not enough to come close to the numbers of 2011/2012, when they had more than 75 thousand teachers, similar to what happened in the 2nd cycle .
On the contrary, two years ago, public schools had 409 more teachers in pre-school and 361 more in the 1st cycle, compared to 2011/2012.
The problem of the lack of teachers could, however, worsen in the coming years, since, according to the same report, the teaching class is increasingly aging, both in the public and private sectors.
According to DGEEC data, the average age of teachers increased significantly by ten years and, in 2021/2022, exceeded 50 years at all levels of education, but it is in pre-school that the situation is most serious.
In the public sector, out of around 10 thousand professionals, almost 80% of pre-school educators were over 50 years old, with only 30 educators under 14 years old, which does not represent 0,1%.
Among the education levels with the oldest teaching class, there are the 2nd cycle, in which 62,6% were over 50 years old, the 3rd cycle and secondary (60,4%) and the 1st. th cycle (47,6%). The percentage of teachers under 30 did not reach 2% in any of the three.
By region, the schools with the oldest teachers are located in the Center, where the average age was 56 years in pre-school, 54 years in the 2nd cycle and 52 years in the 1st and 3rd cycles and secondary schools. .
Another of the indicators covered in the Teacher Profile is the contractual relationship and, from this point of view, the most recent data show two trends.
On the one hand, between 2011/2012 and 2021/2022, there was an increase in the use of teachers hired in pre-school and 1st cycle, who represented 20,2% and 17,3% of the schools' teaching staff, respectively.
In the 2nd and 3rd cycles and secondary, the use of contractors decreased slightly, but still represented 21% of the total in the 2nd cycle and 25,2% in the 3rd cycle and secondary.
At all levels of education, the use of contracted teachers is more significant in the Algarve and Lisbon Metropolitan Area regions, where there is also a greater shortage.