OECD report highlights next 5 to 10 years as key in attracting new teachers

An OECD report says that large amounts of experience and skill will need to be replaced as school teachers in their 50s retire in the next five to 10 years. Meanwhile, Commissioner Figel says universities should become more flexible employers. 

In practical terms, this offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity for education systems to shape and benefit from substantial changes in the teacher workforce, says an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report entitled ‘Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers’.

The report warns that if teaching is not seen as an attractive profession and teaching does not change in fundamental ways, then the quality of schools will decline and a downward spiral will be difficult to reverse.

The report also finds that well-qualified teachers of subjects like mathematics, science and languages are in short supply in many OECD countries, particularly in disadvantaged areas.

Meanwhile, in a speech on universities and the knowledge society delivered at La Sapienza University in Italy, Education and Culture Commissioner Ján Figel said on 23 June that “universities should become more flexible employers; especially they should make it easier for young teachers and researchers to join their ranks”.

He added that those institutions and systems that move faster will benefit from an influx of fresh forces seeking more independence, better career prospects and higher salaries.

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