The Minister of Education said he is working on measures to solve the teacher shortage, such as affordable housing for displaced teachers and paid internships for master’s degree teaching students
“We’re going to work with Caixa de Previdência, which has buildings available in Lisbon, and we’re signing a protocol to convert them into affordable rentals for teachers,” Education Minister João Costa told reporters on Saturday, on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Ramalhal School Center, in the municipality of Torres Vedras.
He said that the ministries of Education and Housing are also working to “make more and more affordable housing opportunities available”, admitting that “housing prices in Lisbon are impossible for anyone”.
Last school year, the Ministry launched the first tender to allocate apartments in Portimão and Lisbon, recognizing that “there are still too few” for the needs.
João Costa announced that the Ministry will “soon” put changes to the teacher training model out to public consultation, bringing back paid internships for students in the current second year of their master’s degree in teaching.
Other “more intensive training modalities” are also planned for graduate teachers without pedagogical training.
“It doesn’t make sense to make them go back to the beginning of a journey, to the beginning of their degree, so we’re also going to streamline training modalities in order to speed up these training paths,” he explained.
According to the government official, the lack of teachers “is a localized problem” in the south of the country, where “in recent decades, teacher training, which has remained in the north of the country, has been largely dismantled”.
“We’re working with the Ministry of Science and Technology and Higher Education to give universities the capacity to have more places on master’s degrees in teaching, because, contrary to what has been said, which is that nobody wants to be a teacher, we have a very high demand for master’s degrees in teaching and universities with little capacity to respond to the demand they have,” explained João Costa.
In Lisbon, for example, one of the universities with a master’s degree in teaching opened 15 places and had 90 applicants.
In the short term, he said, the government has been reducing the time it takes to replace teachers, speeding up school hiring when this isn’t possible, changing pay scales and authorizing the filling of posts by newly qualified teachers who didn’t apply in the last competitions or who aren’t professionalized “as a last resort”.