Teaching vacancies in Flanders double to 1,000

Summary

While there are more than 1,000 vacancies in teaching in Flanders, there are still 3,000 teachers out of work because supply doesn’t match demand

Too much history, not enough maths

The number of vacancies for teachers in Flemish schools more than doubled in one year’s time, from 450 in October 2015 to more than 1,016 a year later. The number of job-seeking teachers in the same period decreased by 14%, from 4,672 to just under 4,100.

Experts have predicted that by 2024 about 10% more teachers will be needed than in 2014, or 6,000 more teachers per school year. Education minister Crevits said that this evolution is being caused by a combination of more students and retiring teachers.

According to Lieven Boeve, head of the Catholic education network, the reform of leave policies in education is also a cause. Last September, the scheme to take a paid career break, for example, became less flexible. “Many teachers took advantage of the previous rules while they still could,” explained Boeve, leaving many schools to seek replacements.

Crevits pointed out that the evolution will improve job security in the sector, where teachers just starting out find it difficult to get a permanent placement. 

There is still a surplus of some 3,000 qualified teachers seeking work; while there is a shortage of teachers for maths and technical courses, for instance, there are too many for physical education and history. There are also major differences between municipalities in supply and demand.

Crevits is working together with education networks and unions on a career pact to improve the situation of teaching jobs and boost the image of a teaching career.

Photo courtesy Stad Gent

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