The ombudsman for civil rights, Marcin Wiącek, wrote a letter to the minister of education and science, Przemysław Czarnek, regarding the missing teachers in schools. – It happens that months pass, during which the school principal is looking for a new teacher, which means the loss of continuity of education – points out the Ombudsman. He asked the minister of education “how he intends to reverse the negative trends in teachers’ employment”.
The letter of the ombudsman to the minister of education and science regarding the missing teachers in schools is dated September 14. As the Commissioner for Human Rights wrote, “fears that in the school year 2021/2022 will be difficult to provide pedagogical staff composed of teachers with appropriate qualifications are confirmed”. He emphasized that this is especially important in the light of the return of students to schools after more than a year of distance learning caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, which entails the need for additional support for them.
According to Wiącek, “the situation of teachers should be urgently addressed, as a further decline in interest in working in public and private schools may significantly affect the implementation of the right to education”.
RPO: Thousands of teachers are still being sought
Wiącek referred to the data of education boards, which show that in the first weeks of education, thousands of teachers of various subjects are still sought (e.g. 1,338 job offers in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship, 540 – in the Dolnośląskie Voivodeship, 114 – in the Podlaskie Voivodeship).
The Commissioner recalled report of the Supreme Audit Office on the organization of teachers’ work in public schoolswhich shows that in the 2018/2019-2020/2021 school years, nearly half of principals (46%) reported difficulties with employing teachers with appropriate qualifications. The most common teachers were physics (33%), mathematics (32%), chemistry (24%), English (20%) and computer science (18%). More than a third of principals employed retired teachers and assigned classes to teachers without the required qualifications, with the consent of pedagogical supervision (35%).
In 12% of cases, it was not possible to hire a teacher until the beginning of the school year. The average age of a teacher is 47 years, the most numerous are those in the range of 46–55 years (38%). About 11% of teachers worked in more than one school, while 73% of them worked overtime.
Marcin Wiącek does not agree with the opinion of the minister of education
Wiącek wrote that “it is impossible to agree with the minister’s opinion that ‘such a small percentage of vacancies in schools is always present during the summer holidays, also this year. It will be replenished, there is no problem with it'”.
The Commissioner for Human Rights referred to Czarnek’s statement in Polsat News on August 26, where the minister referred to the issue of missing teachers. In half of August there were about 13,000 vacancies in schools and kindergartens – this was the result of data collected in job banks at the education offices.
– Let us remind you that 13,000 teachers out of 700,000 teachers, so this is a negligible percentage, so that we do not give the impression that we have a huge percentage here. There is always such a negligible percentage of vacancies in schools during the summer holidays, and also this year. It will be supplemented, there is no problem with it – said the head of MEiN.
“This kind of thing happens every year, that’s a negligible percentage of the total,” he added.
September 6 Sławomir Broniarz, president of the Polish Teachers’ Union he said about 10,000 teachers were missing.
The Commissioner for Human Rights also mentioned in a letter to Czarnek about the response of Deputy Minister of Education and Science Dariusz Piontkowski to the interpellation regarding the staff shortages of teachers. “Job vacancies are recorded primarily in large cities, this phenomenon affects small towns on a marginal scale,” declared the deputy head of MEiN.
Wiącek: it happens that the principal searches for a new teacher for months
In the opinion of the Commissioner for Human Rights, “the lack of measures to solve this problem taking a systemic form may lead to irreversible damage to the level of education of children and adolescents”.
“It happens that months pass, during which the school head is looking for a new teacher, which means a loss of continuity and deficiencies in the implementation of the core curriculum. Media reports show that this problem is also present in smaller towns and in non-public schools that have the opportunity to better remuneration of teachers and which often offer more comfortable working conditions (eg well-equipped laboratories) “- he noted.
The spokesman for civil rights wrote that he noticed that the ministry “sees the need to prevent the problems of children and adolescents, including the consequences of peer isolation in the state of epidemics”, but raised doubts as to whether “the funds allocated to helping students and teachers are adequate to the needs”. He added that there is also a risk that the low interest in working in education will make the implementation of the programs proposed by MEiN questionable.
Wiącek asked Czarnek “how does he intend to reverse the negative tendencies in the employment of teachers”. He also asked for a comprehensive inventory of measures to help students and teachers return to school. – The chances for the success of the programs and the future quality of education in the Republic of Poland depend to a large extent on the competence and satisfaction of teachers with their professional situation “- emphasized the Ombudsman.
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