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Back to school under tension in the face of the shortage of teachers

This year, more than 4,000 positions were not filled in the teacher competitions, a historically low rate, according to figures from the Ministry of National Education.

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Back to school under tension in the face of the shortage of teachers

This year, more than 4,000 positions were not filled in the teacher competitions, a historically low rate, according to figures from the Ministry of National Education. In the first public degree, the rate of positions filled is 83.1%, against 94.7% last year. For colleges and high schools, it stands at 83.4%, compared to 94.1% in 2021.

These particularly acute recruitment difficulties, in particular linked to a crisis in the attractiveness of the profession, raise fears of a back-to-school period under tension.

“We have a problem recruiting teachers,” Education Minister Pap Ndiaye admitted in July. "It's an old problem, but one that has gotten worse in recent years." The minister has however promised several times: "There will be a teacher in front of each class in all the schools in France" at the start of the school year.

"We do what it takes to," he said. Cells have thus been set up this week in each academy to "settle difficulties where they arise", answer questions from newly hired contract teachers to make up for staffing shortages, and prepare for the start of the school year as well as possible.

It is in one of these cells, of the academy of Créteil (suburb in the south-east of Paris), particularly affected by the difficulties of recruitment, that the minister goes Tuesday morning for his inaugural return trip, before his first press conference on Friday.

Because there are strong disparities between regions. In the first degree (nursery and elementary schools), serious deficits exist in particular in the Ile-de-France academies, and more particularly in those of Créteil and Versailles. Barely more than 900 candidates were recruited out of 1,665 open positions in Créteil, and no more at Versailles, for 1,600 open positions.

- "Return of the shortage" -

Faced with this insufficient recruitment, ten deputies (Nupes) from Seine-Saint-Denis also asked the Minister of Education in July for "emergency measures" for the start of the school year, in a popular department with a large population, already penalized by numerous non-replacement of teachers.

In secondary education, certain subjects are of particular concern: several subjects are far from having filled up the competitions, such as German (55% of positions filled compared to 70 to 81% during the three previous years), classics (57 %), physics-chemistry (66.7%) or mathematics (68.5%). Pap Ndiaye had mentioned recruitment tensions in early August "especially for modern languages ​​and technology", during a hearing at the National Assembly.

To respond to the recruitment crisis, contract workers were hired in June during controversial "job-dating", interviews organized in several academies. Those selected, who must have at least a license - whatever it is - will teach from the start of the school year, often with only a few days of training, offered from this week.

"It is still very light. It does not replace a little more substantial training", notes Sophie Vénétitay, general secretary of Snes-FSU, the first secondary union, who evokes her "concern, and at the same time a form of annoyance".

"It's the return of the shortage," she adds. "We have seen that the rectorates and the ministry are tinkering in every way to be able to display a teacher in front of each class at the start of the school year. But even if this objective is achieved, we can wonder what the price will be, if these are untrained teachers.

Stéphane Crochet, of SE-Unsa, another teacher union, fears that "behind the back-to-school display, if we manage to put people in front of the classes, we no longer have any reservations substitutes".

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