At a time when several countries are faced with shortages of qualified teachers, a new study undertaken on behalf of the European Commission looks at what Member States could do to attract the best people into the profession.
The study looks in detail at what makes the teaching profession attractive (or not), maps the different policy measures that countries use (or could use) to attract high-quality recruits, to make careers more attractive, and to enhance the social status and prestige of teaching, and assesses their effectiveness. It also makes recommendations for improvements.
The study concerns teachers in primary and secondary education (ISCED 1, 2 and 3) in 32 countries (the 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey). It is based upon a survey of more than 80,000 student teachers, teachers and school leaders, interviews with national decision-makers, and a review of the research in the field.
- In most European countries, the teaching profession has lost much of its attraction for the best candidates because of a decline in prestige, poorer working conditions and relatively low salaries. But Ireland, Finland, Scotland buck this trend
- Few countries have specific, long-term strategies to make the profession more attractive to the best candidates, or even to evaluate the effectiveness of their current policies
- In many countries, the teacher shortage is addressed by longer working hours for teachers, higher pupil-teacher ratios or an increase in the retirement age