The school year is not over yet, but the start of the new school year is already dawning in September and with it a series of worries. While the number of candidates eligible for competitions for primary and secondary school teachers is falling, education stakeholders are wondering what the situation will be like at the end of the summer.
“Looking for a job? A job that makes sense? The Versailles Academy is recruiting before the start of the school year in September.” In a video posted to social media this week, Rector Charline Avenel made an urgent appeal. The goal: to recruit more than 2,000 contract workers by September thanks to four days of meetings and interviews at the end of May.
A new way of recruiting? Or the signal of difficulties in attracting new teachers? The number of candidates for primary education or teacher competitions has been declining for several years. And this year, 2022 seems to be no exception. On the contrary, according to Elise Capéran, national secretary of the Unsa teachers’ union, there is a “very large shortage”.
When the Ministry of Education says it wants to wait for the final figures for the time being once the oral exams are passed, certain data illustrates the situation that many players describe as “unpublished” and “critical”. For the capes of mathematics, for example, the number of eligible candidates is 817 this year, up from 1076 in 2021, according to the first figures the rue de Grenelle has pledged to publish.
“Everything Is Running”
Asked by The Midi broadcast, the ministerial services ensure that “everything is done so that every class has a teacher at the beginning of the school year in September”. “We are aware of the difficulties that exist in certain disciplines, such as mathematics, or in certain academies, but we had anticipated this and we have enough people who can enable us to meet the needs,” explains one .
But on the trade union side, we remain skeptical and above all concerned. “It is possible that a massive recruitment of indentured laborers could stop the problem temporarily, but certainly not in the long term,” supports Elise Capéran. Françoise Lambert, National Secretary of Sgen-CFDT, believes we need to ask ourselves the right questions: “As we deploy more and more contract workers, what are we deploying financially and educationally to make it work?”
Questions that have their place in colleges and high schools, such as primary schools, where, according to Ghislaine David, co-secretary general and spokesperson for SNUIPP-FSU, “we are headed for disaster.” Again, “there are too few candidates in relation to the positions and the needs”, she complains. According to union figures, the number of suitable candidates per position has fallen from 1.07 in 2021 for the Academy of Versailles to 0.34 this year.
For the teachers’ representatives, this decline in the number of suitable candidates also reflects a tarnished image of the profession. “These two years of Covid-19 have accentuated the idea that careers in education are not desirable,” said Alexis Torchet, national secretary of Sgen-CFDT. Winning the Smic 1.1 times is not attractive to students who now have to go to Master 2 to pass the competition and thus open themselves up to other professional opportunities.
Hence the importance of a pay increase advocated by the representatives of the profession. But we would prefer not to comment on this subject at the ministry until Jean-Michel Blanquer’s successor has been appointed. The unions meanwhile believe that Emmanuel Macron’s promises must first be “defined and stopped for good”, says Elise Capéran. And to warn, “If the revaluation is dependent on a greater workload, it won’t work.”