Industrial/technical subjects: serious shortage of new teachers in vocational education calls for a step change
Germany’s vocational schools are experiencing major problems attracting fully qualified teaching staff, particularly in the case of industrial/technical subjects. The number of students graduating from such Teacher Education degree programmes remains particularly low and is unlikely to meet the growing need for teachers in these subjects in the future. Education experts believe that this shortage of qualified teachers could put vocational education at risk in the medium term. In a publication issued by Monitor Lehrerbildung, the experts call for more attractive conditions and the expansion of opportunities for the recruitment of lateral entrants to teaching positions at vocational schools without compromising quality.
There are simply not enough graduates with a traditional degree in Teacher Education to meet the need for teachers at vocational schools in Germany – and this has been the case for quite some time. Hence it is common practice for most federal states to fall back on lateral entrants without teaching qualifications. This is particularly the case in industrial/technical subjects such as metals technology and electrical technology. Two-thirds of all newly recruited lateral entrants at vocational schools in 2016 were from this group of subjects.
The problems attracting teaching staff to vocational schools will be further exacerbated by a wave of retirements over the next few years. In the 2015/16 school year, 48 per cent of teachers at vocational schools were aged 50 and above. A rise in pupil numbers and increasing diversity in the classroom further boost demand for well-trained teaching staff at vocational schools.
There is a need for immediate action to meet these challenges. Volker Meyer-Guckel, Deputy Secretary General of Stifterverband, urged a rethink: “The quality of the dual system of vocational education and training, and hence the future viability of the German economy, is ultimately dependent on the quality of subject teaching. There is an urgent need for the federal states, higher education institutions, associations, schools and companies to implement sustainable measures and undertake joint efforts to recruit more well-trained teachers for vocational schools.”
In a publication entitled “Attraktiv und zukunftsorientiert?! – Lehrerbildung in den gewerblich-technischen Fächern für die beruflichen Schulen” (Attractive and future-oriented?! – teacher training in industrial/technical subjects for vocational schools), education experts of Monitor Lehrerbildung call for a comprehensive package of measures for ensuring an adequate supply of teachers. These measures include expanding the options for accessing teaching positions in industrial/technical subject areas in a way that quality-assured lateral entry is institutionalised as an equivalent alternative to a general degree in Teacher Education. Frank Ziegele, Executive Director of the CHE Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung, stated: “Given that the need for teachers in industrial/technical subjects has been met to a large extent by lateral entrants from the world of industry for years now, it is high time to make a virtue out of necessity by firmly establishing options for switching to teaching without compromising quality. Our publication highlights a number of attractive models for Master’s programmes aimed at lateral entrants that urgently need to be implemented on a broad scale.”
Information about Monitor Lehrerbildung
Monitor Lehrerbildung is the only teacher training database in Germany. This database at www.monitor-lehrerbildung.de provides a clear presentation of the relevant data concerning the first phase of teacher training in Germany. A total of 69 HEIs and all 16 federal states completed the survey conducted by Monitor Lehrerbildung in 2016. All data and lots more information about the topic can be accessed freely at www.monitor-lehrerbildung.de. Monitor Lehrerbildung is a joint project of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the CHE Centre for Higher Education, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung and the Stifterverband.
Further Information can be found in the publication stated below.