The number of job vacancies in the education sector has reached a new record high, according to recent data from Hungary’s Central Statistical Office (KSH). Older teachers are retiring, and young people do not choose this career due to many factors, including the very low wages.
Teachers’ unions are talking about a growing shortage of staff, with vacancies in schools increasing and more time needed to find suitable teachers. Some schools are recognizing that they are currently unable to provide an adequate level of teaching in certain optional subjects to the properly prepare students for their final exams due to staff shortages, Portfolio writes.
According to KSH’s data, there were 6,600 vacancies in the education sector in Hungary in the second quarter of this year. Compared to the same period last year, the number of vacancies has increased by 38 percent, indicating that the already existing problems in the sector are getting worse at an accelerating pace. The “aging out” is not the only problem in the sector: some people graduate from college or university but do not enter the teaching profession because the pay is as low as the minimum wage for skilled workers. There are other reasons behind career drop-outs – unpaid overtime, overwork, centralized decisions, teacher portfolios – but the most important is a lack of financial appreciation.
The pandemic did not help the problem either. The number of job vacancies increased during the pandemic since digital education required the same number of teachers as in-person education. Currently, teachers are not receiving a raise because, according to the government, “the economic situation does not allow for it” due to the coronavirus crisis.
The situation is also difficult because if teachers’ salaries were settled now, the problem would not be solved quickly. It would be necessary to make the profession attractive again for young people applying to college or university. Even if this could be achieved, it would still take many years for sufficient numbers of students to graduate from university and make up the shortfall.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI