Number of teachers older than 65 doubles in five years
While the education ministry finds the trend in postponing retirement a positive step for schools, one education union finds it a ‘stopgap’
6,000 more teachers needed
In the past, teachers were obliged to retire at the end of the school year in which they turned 65. Since 2012, however, schools can continue to employ teachers who submit a request. This request must be renewed every school year.
A majority of the teachers who have postponed their retirement are men working in primary education. Antwerp province has the largest number of older teachers.
The new regulation was introduced to deal with the teaching shortage. According to the ministry, Flanders still needs about 6,000 more teachers.
Minister Crevits applauded the trend. “It shows the teacher’s commitment, and it is beneficial for both the school involved and the teacher,” she said in a statement.
Christian education union COC, however, finds the phenomenon alarming. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that we need to seriously invest in teaching careers,” COC secretary-general Koen Van Kerkhoven told De Standaard. “Over-65s cannot compensate for the structural shortage of teachers; that’s only a stopgap.”
Van Kerkhoven said that measures must be taken to attract more people to the profession such as higher salaries, improved working conditions and more respect for the sector. “We need new young teachers and people from other sectors entering the profession,” he said.
Photo courtesy Ingimage
million school-going children in 2013
million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013
percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma