Call for master’s degree for primary school teachers

Summary

Experts say introducing a master’s for primary school teachers would increase the quality of education and improve the status of the job

Problem is cost

The Catholic education network and the Christian Education Union would like there to be a master’s degree in education for primary school teachers, to give the job higher status.

For some time, education experts have been looking to Scandinavian countries where all teachers – including pre-school teachers – have a master’s degree. The education commission in the Flemish Parliament has examined the topic and the Flemish Education Council recently advised introducing such a programme.

“Primary education currently loses valuable teachers in two ways,” Lieven Boeve, head of the Catholic education network, told VRT. “We lose 18-year-olds with an interest in primary education but who have university ambitions, and teachers with bachelor’s degrees who get a master’s degree and leave primary education for a better salary.”

He pointed out that teachers with a master’s degree would mix with colleagues with a bachelor’s degree, leading to positive cross-fertilisation. Teachers with a master’s degree would increase the quality of education with their knowledge of things such as data analysis, translation of research and scientific insights.

The big problem is the cost, as primary school teachers with a master’s are entitled to a higher salary. Negotiations between the education sector and the government concerning the teacher career pact – aimed at making the career of teacher more attractive – are already difficult because of budget issues.

Photo courtesy Campus Hof van Riemen

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Educational system

The Flemish educational system is divided into two levels: primary (age six to 12) and secondary school (12 to 18). Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 18.
Types - There are three educational networks in Flanders: the Flemish Community’s GO! network, and publicly funded education – either publicly or privately run.
Not enough space - In recent years, Flemish schools have been struggling with persistent teacher shortages and a growing lack of school spaces.
No tuition fees - Nursery, primary and secondary school are free in Flanders.
1

million school-going children in 2013

30

million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013

11

percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma