The new academic year will start with a shortage of about 2000 teaching staff. Dan Perciun, Education and Science Minister, stated this in an interview to Vocea Basarabiei.
“We have a shortage of teaching staff, and it has existed for many years. Now we are talking about 2000 vacancies. In these conditions we have to admit that many vacancies are filled gradually, so these 2000 places, which today are not occupied by anyone even part-time. Accordingly, there is a shortage. It is pronounced in certain disciplines, especially in the exact sciences.
It is a perpetual problem, on the one hand, and on the other hand, it will worsen, given the large number of teachers of retirement age, to whom we are very grateful, because thanks to them this shortage is not bigger today. We are grateful to them for their willingness to continue working, but obviously, in the situation where the system’s ageing becomes more pronounced, the problem of the shortage of teaching staff will become more widespread, and then we have to seriously consider how to attract young specialists. One of the goals we set in the Ministry was to double the number of young specialists who decide to work in educational institutions after graduation.
Today, only about 25% of graduates make this decision, so out of a thousand people who graduated from the pedagogical faculty, only about 250 go to school. So, the goal is to double that number by 2024 and reach 500. And there are some tools that we could use. First of all, it’s important to convince more high school graduates to enter teaching specialties. The average score in admission will be a tool to send a very clear message that the best enters teaching faculties, that it’s prestigious. Scholarships for students of pedagogical specialties are a very important point. Now we are doing calculations, determining exactly how much we could increase them. Secondly, dual education in pedagogy is something we want to introduce. My colleagues analyze what changes need to be made to the legislation, so we are working in this direction. It will mean that a student, starting from the second year, can simultaneously study but also work in a school or kindergarten.
It is also beneficial from a financial point of view. We would like him to be paid for these hours, and in addition, he will get practical experience, because studying at university is not only theoretical. Today there are situations when people after graduating from a master’s program, after five years of study, meet face-to-face with students and are not well prepared for it. We think to analyze this allowance for young specialists, which has already been increased to 200 thousand, you know about it,” Perciun said.
The Minister of Education also spoke about how the state tries to motivate young people to work in villages. “Since things are interconnected, it is not only about material incentives. By the way, the allowance is also given to those who find jobs both in rural areas, and in district centers, including Chisinau. Now, the revision of the allowance is a potential solution. In particular, I think it is more important to direct it in a larger amount to the scarcest specialties, today it is the same regardless of the profile, regardless of the region where the future teacher goes.
We could individualize the allowances a bit and increase them where the shortage is greater. Secondly, we think about certain financial incentives, but want to correlate them with certain additional skills. For instance, we may offer an additional incentive to a graduate who also has advanced language skills or has certain digital but certified skills, then we will prepare certain incentives.
From the discussions that we had with the graduates of the State University and Pedagogical University a fortnight ago, we have found that the salary aspects are certainly important and we need to think about these incentives. But equally important is the atmosphere in the school, the way the staff welcome them, the opportunity to change schools during these 3 years, if they have found themselves in a wrong team. We often give examples when graduates wanted to get a job in a certain educational institution with formally vacant places. However, they were not hired because someone was doing part-time and then instead of offering a place to a young specialist, the management of the educational institution preferred to keep this additional salary for another teacher. Such things happen,” the minister said.
According to Dan Perciun, legal regulations in education need to be improved. “In general, we have a big difference in what happens in education and medicine. In medicine, in addition to the fact that there is an obligation that we don’t have in pedagogy, the ministry is much more involved in the distribution process. Graduates come to the ministry, the ministry knows in great detail where there are places, the ministry assigns graduates to this or that hospital and completely controls the process. In the Ministry of Education, we have found that the process is much more decentralized. The Ministry has only a supervisory role,” the Minister of Education added.