5% of teachers have foreign background, study shows

Summary

While the demographics of pupils are becoming more diverse, the teaching population doesn’t reflect population changes

‘Role models are needed’

Only 5% of teachers in Flanders have a foreign background, according to a study by a researcher at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), reported in De Tijd. It’s the first time figures on the origins of teachers have been made available.

Just 5% of the teachers surveyed by by Els Consuegra, working in the first two years of secondary education, has a grandparent who was born abroad. The foreign roots mostly lie in neighbouring countries like France, the Netherlands and Germany. The number of teachers with roots in Morocco, Turkey or Eastern Europe is very limited.

While the student population in Flemish classes becomes increasingly diverse, the teaching population doesn’t reflect this diversity. That’s also shown by figures from the teacher training department at Karel de Grote university college in Antwerp. 

“About 10% of our teacher training graduates have a migration background,” said Piet Pieters, policy officer for diversity at the college. “Role models are fundamental to the pass rates of students of foreign origin.”

The cabinet of education minister Hilde Crevits said religion or migration background shouldn’t be an obstacle for a job in the education sector. She is planning a media campaign to promote teaching as a career, with attention to diversity. 

Flemish MP Elisabeth Meuleman of Groen said it was necessary to introduce “feasible target figures” for a proportional representation in the education sector and suggested schools could receive a financial remuneration if they reach the targets.

Photo courtesy Klasse.be