Schools in the Algarve and Alentejo are in desperate need of more teachers. So says teachers’ union Sindicato dos Professores da Zona Sul (SPZS), which has warned that the situation is “worse than imagined”.
“There is a need for 41 teachers in the district of Portalegre, 27 in Évora, 48 in Beja and 119 in Faro,” the syndicate said in a statement sent out to newsrooms.
“The teacher shortage is not a lie or a hoax, like the Ministry of Education tries to tell the Portuguese. It is a serious problem that the country has been going through for years.”
The shortage affects all educational stages but particularly the seventh, eighth and ninth grades, and high school, which are in need of 169 teachers, “especially Portuguese, English, Spanish, History, Geography, Maths, Physics and Chemistry, and IT and Visual Arts teachers”.
There is also a severe lack of special education teachers, says the SPZS, adding that there are many students with special educational needs who are not receiving adequate support.
The number of older teachers on medical leave also leaves many students without classes, as finding replacements is no easy task.
“Teachers avoid travelling too far from their residence to work just a few hours or in many cases just one month only to receive, in most cases, minimum wage or even less,” the syndicate said.
To overcome these issues, the union suggests increasing the number of teachers who are permanently employed at schools, ending the “abusive use of fixed-term contracts”, and by opening up more vacancies for teaching jobs.