Latvia’s schools are short of several hundred teachers, the Education and Science Ministry said on Thursday, just days before the start of the new school year.
Teachers of mathematics, Latvian and foreign languages are especially in short supply, which means heavier workload for the existing teachers. This, in turn, prevents them from working with students individually.
Small wages and low prestige of the teaching profession are the main issues blamed for the problem.
With the new school year due to begin on Sept. 1, Latvian schools have reported 470 vacant jobs, the ministry said, citing a survey of schools. The vacancies include jobs not only for teachers but also support staff like psychologists, speech therapists and social workers.
Baiba Baskere, deputy head of the ministry’s department for vocational and adult education, noted that the severest shortages of teachers have been reported in large cities like Jelgava and Jurmala, and there are many job vacancies for preschool teachers as well.
“Of these 470 vacancies, 150 are in preschool institutions, which most probably suggests that the workload and responsibility are not consistent with the salaries,” said Baskere.