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Research Suggests ways to Address the Present Teacher Shortage in Sweden

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Research Suggests ways to Address the Present Teacher Shortage in Sweden

August 20
12:12 2019
In a survey by Sveriges Radio Ekot, 113 municipalities, or just over half of the 202 who responded, stated that they had a “big problem” with teacher shortages in local primary schools. Even among those who said the situation was not yet problematic, many believed it could become a problem over the next few years.

Five Factors that influences the Attraction and Retention of teachers

As families across Sweden prepare for the return to school over the next few weeks, many municipalities are reporting a shortage of teaching staff. In a survey by Sveriges Radio Ekot, 113 municipalities, or just over half of the 202 who responded, stated that they had a “big problem” with teacher shortages in local primary schools. Even among those who said the situation was not yet problematic, many believed it could become a problem over the next few years.

Based on research, Their are five factors for policymakers to consider in order to ensure that teachers lead, rather than leave the profession. Their implementation will address the emerging teacher shortage and ensure every child is taught by a competent, committed teacher.

These factors include: salaries and other compensation; preparation and costs to entry; hiring and personnel management; working conditions and resources for teaching and learning.

Salaries and Other Compensation:

Teachers’ salaries affect the supply of teachers, including the distribution of teachers across districts, and the quality and quantity of individuals preparing to be teachers. Salaries also appear to influence teacher attrition—teachers are more likely to quit when they work in districts with lower wages. Better pay is also what would bring them back to the classroom.

Preparation and Costs to Entry:

Strong preparation increases teachers’ efficacy and makes it more likely they will remain in the profession. Depending on the study, attrition rates are found to be two to three times higher for teachers who enter the profession without full preparation, than for teachers who are comprehensively prepared.

Hiring and Personnel Management:

Research suggests that district and school practices related to hiring and supporting teachers influence teachers’ decisions to enter, remain in, or leave the profession.

Working Conditions:

Teaching conditions also define learning conditions for students. They are a strong predictor of teachers’ decisions on whether to stay or not. A system that grants teachers; School leadership and administrative support, Opportunities for professional collaboration and shared decision-making will immensely improve their working conditions.
Resources for teaching and learning

Schools with sufficient instructional materials and supplies, safe and clean facilities, reasonable student-to-teacher ratios, and adequate support personnel can positively affect teacher retention rates, and influence the kind of teaching and learning that can occur.

Sweden would be well served studying systems such as Finland and Singapore that are not facing teacher shortages to begin with. These systems have moved to a professional model of teaching and of school work organization, where teachers take the lead in designing curriculum, collaborating and supporting their peers, and ultimately driving the performance of their entire schools. A system-wide approach to build and implement this new professional model where teachers are treated as high-status professionals from the minute they enter the profession to the day they retire from the nation’s schools is the way forward.

Link to source: Teacher Shortage Leaves Swedish Schools in Crisis Ahead Of New School Year

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