02. 09. 2019 14:43
Attracting and keeping people in the school system seems to be a problem which exceeds the self-governing bodies, said Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová on Monday. She opened the school year at the Turnianska street elementary school in the Bratislava borough of Petržalka. According to Čaputová, the issue should be addressed at a central level, in order to find people to carry out the job of a teacher.
Education Minister Martina Lubyová said that the lack of teachers was not affecting the whole of Slovakia, but only some areas, in particular Bratislava and the surrounding region. "We've secured four salary increases between September 2016 and January 2020, making up a total increase of 38% for everybody," said Lubyová, adding that new teachers would see an almost 10% salary hike as of the new school year. Meanwhile, the minister said that teachers have been returning to schools in many regions. "This is because the salary conditions, mainly in eastern Slovakia, have started to become very attractive," she said, adding that higher salaries in other sectors provide strong competition with education especially in Bratislava, however. When it comes to individual subjects regardless of regions, the ministry sees the biggest shortage among IT and foreign-language teachers, added Lubyová.
Salaries are growing and they should not be an issue in the future, said Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini. He believes that it is important to focus on the quality of the process of educating new teachers. Nevertheless, he said that the situation regarding salaries is specific to Bratislava and the surrounding regions and it will be necessary to find a solution to it. The costs of living there are the highest in the country, nevertheless, teachers' salaries are the same as in other regions.
According to Minister Lubyová, one of the biggest changes in the school system is that English is not the first foreign language, and students and teachers will have an option to choose a different 'first' foreign language. English remains compulsory - if not chosen as the first it will have to be the second foreign language.
On Monday morning, approximately 660,000 primary and secondary school pupils, including 58,100 first graders started the 2019/2020 school year.