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Teacher Shortage Likely in Iceland

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Teacher Shortage Likely in Iceland

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Photo: Krzysztof Puszczyński.

Only half of those who have a degree in education work as teachers. The ratio is lower than in any other profession in Iceland. This data is provided in a master’s essay by Helgi Eiríkur Eyjólfsson, in which he analyzes teacher recruitment, using demographic methods in population forecasts, RÚV reports.

Helgi explained, “We discover that if nothing else changes, there will, for example, be about 7,000 people in 2031 with a degree in education, which is a 25 percent decrease from 2011. At the same time, the number of school-aged children will increase by 15 percent, according to population forecasts from Iceland Statistics.”

He stated those numbers indicate that working as a teacher is not attracting enough people, and the trend is worrying. Men, he stated, tend to seek other jobs, and appear to have a better chance to get higher paid jobs outside of teaching than do women.

The study followed those who graduated with a degree in education from 2008 to 2012.

“Only two-thirds go on to teach in grade schools. Therefore, every third teacher who graduates never teaches in grade school. It’s common for people to leave teaching during the first five years, which is a crucial time for new teachers, and men are at a much greater risk of quitting teaching.”

The requirements for graduating with a degree in education were increased in 2011 when the curriculum was extended by two years and moved to a graduate level. In the wake of those changes, the number of applications for the University of Education dropped.

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