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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

So many career changers and students teach at compulsory schools

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This is shown by the answer to a parliamentary question from the SPÖ by Minister of Education Martin Polaschek (ÖVP). A total of almost 70,600 teachers teach at Austria’s compulsory schools (primary, secondary, special, vocational and polytechnic schools).

Measures against staff shortages

By far most of the approximately 4,270 lateral entrants – i.e. teachers without a (completed) teaching degree – are in Vienna at the beginning of the school year (around 1,900, excluding specialist practitioners and specialist theorists at the vocational schools). In the future, the focus will be on even more people without classic teacher training at schools: As a measure against the increasing shortage of staff, courses for people who have a suitable degree and professional experience will start at all teacher training colleges in autumn. When fully developed, the ministry expects 200 to 300 graduates per year.

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The number of students studying to become teachers in compulsory schools is comparatively small (1,100). Most can also be found in Vienna (280) and in Upper Austria (240). The number of teachers brought back from retirement is manageable (42). By far the majority of them teach in Upper Austria (15), where this model was aggressively advertised. Retired teachers are used almost exclusively in secondary and elementary schools.

Co-funding for psychologists and social workers

The response to the query also contains figures on support staff at compulsory schools in the current school year. Accordingly, 748 secretarial staff (449 full-time equivalents/FTE) were co-financed at the 4,400 compulsory schools nationwide by the federal and state governments. From 2023/24, the administrative assistance will be fixed in the financial equalization, then there will be co-financing of up to 15 million euros per school year from the federal government. According to Polaschek, this could finance up to 700 full-time employees together with the federal states.

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In the current school year, the federal government is also co-financing 65 school social workers and 32 social pedagogues. Of course, Polaschek emphasizes that responsibility for school social work lies primarily with child and youth welfare and thus with the federal states. Almost 199 co-financed school psychologists (FTE) are also employed at the compulsory schools.

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