Teacher recruitment crisis: what if the solution was the contract?

Education and culture

24 May 2022 • Manon Meistermann

The Academy of Versailles is seeking 1,300 contract teachers for the start of the 2022 school year. A recurring and urgent teacher recruitment problem that Pap Ndiaye, just appointed Minister of National Education, will face from the next start of the school year, where 5 CAPES competitions (German, Classical, Physics-Chemistry, Mathematics, Modern Letters) have less suitable candidates than vacancies and where 5 Academies (Versailles, Paris, Créteil, Mayotte, Guyana) face the same problem in the recruitment of teachers .

It’s not a new problem. In 2009, 72% of those registered for external capes took part in the competition, compared to 57% in 2021. For the external competition for school teachers (CPRE), this percentage decreased from 57% to 31% from 2009 to 2021. Already below the previous term For five years, François Hollande had struggled to fill the 60,000 teaching posts he had committed to. In 2020, the number of candidates registered for a position in the external Capes competition was 5.6 to 1 compared to 8.4 to 1 in 2006.

The good leads of the Marseille experiment

In his program for 2022, Emmanuel Macron speaks out for “ more freedom for institutions in their internal organization, for the recruitment of part of the teaching staff An idea that the President has already developed since March, 59 Marseille schools have launched the experiment: the directors have been given additional powers to launch and finance projects (through the validation of tenders), coordinate teams and co-ordinate their teaching team. to set.

The Marseille experiment also offers an alternative to recruitment and empowers schools to search for specific profiles through a committee composed of a school principal and two national education inspectors. Candidates therefore pass interviews to ensure they meet the needs: a great novelty in public education where permanent teachers are normally sent to schools by the rectorate and on a points system Extremely rigid: 20 points per year of seniority, 45 points if it is in a priority setting, 100 points per child, 150 points for a PACS or a marriage (hence the multiplication of white PACS in the learning environment), etc.

A system that does not promote mobility and does not satisfy anyone: in 2020-2021, 77% of transfer requests were refused in the first public stage, and 56% in the second public stage. Nevertheless, the inter-trade unions CGT, FO, SNUipp-FSU and SUD in Marseille advised teachers to ignore the rector’s inquiry into their interest in this new recruitment method. For these adversaries, there is a risk that no one will want to teach in priority institutions and difficult neighborhoods. Today, these institutions depend on the distribution made by the rectorates, which is based solely on coercion. For example, young teachers with the fewest marks (but also the least skilled) are expected to fill these positions.

Using contractors: the only leeway

Faced with such logic, how can we be surprised at the recruitment crisis affecting the National Education: if before the start of the 2022-2023 school year, the Ministry speaks of a temporary phenomenon (linked to the obligation to obtain a master’s degree 2 for external competitions, and no longer a master 1), the reality is that since 2000 the number of candidates for the second degree Capes has increased from 40,000 to 15,500. In 2022, 5 competitions (German, Classics, Physics-Chemistry, Mathematics, Modern Letters) had fewer suitable candidates than open vacancies. At the level of the CRPE competition for teachers, 5 academies (Versailles, Paris, Créteil, Mayotte, Guyana) members had the same problem. Positions likely to be allocated to contract workers whose share in national education is increasing: +26.3% since the start of the 2015-2016 school year in public education and +12.2% in private education when the number of incumbents increased by 1.2% in the public sector and decreased by -0.8% in the private sector.


Passing through indentured worker status even becomes a rite of passage before joining the ranks of National Education, as more than 20% of entrants to public secondary education and nearly 60% of those admitted to private secondary education have the internal competition for National Education staff. Most of them are already teachers and this share is growing, as the ministry report indicates: ” The proportion of new holders working as contract workers in the two years prior to entering teacher training in school education has increased especially in secondary education, from 7% in 2008 to 26% in 2018

Thus status, under the guise of the uniqueness of the teaching body, camouflages real inequalities in treatment. Take the number of teachers in a public high school, on average there are:

  • The remaining 79% are certified teachers with statutory tenure of 18 hours per week, with an average annual salary of approximately $30,100. For this fee, a certified male teacher will teach an average of 19.3 hours per week.
  • 12% associate themselves with a statutory service of 15 hours a week, for an average annual salary of approximately € 42,000. For this fee, a male assistant teacher will teach an average of 16.3 hours per week.
  • 9% permanent teachers (contract teachers) for an average annual salary of approximately € 19,000. For this fee, a male contract teacher will teach an average of 17.4 hours per week.

This means that at the same level of school, on the same subject and with the same seniority, we can find 3 teachers depending on 3 different salary scales, for salaries ranging from simple to double and teaching time ranging from more than 100 hours per year and this without taking into account their ability to lead a class, their pedagogy, their involvement in the life of the establishment or their skills: the only difference is the validation of a competition.

What to conclude?

That the education system currently suffers from the management of an inflexible stock of holders (it is very difficult for a public teacher to change institution, even more from the academy and it is impossible for a principal to separate from a teacher who is not suitable for the device). The system has therefore made a transition with an increasingly massive appeal to indentured servants whose contracts resemble a fixed-term contract and for which there is no conscription: so if it is the holder who decides whether to work full-time (6 pm) or part-time -time (9 a.m.) then the contractor can be hired by multiple sites to teach at 3:00 PM, 8:00 PM, 6:00 PM, or 8:00 PM. So there are only two options: a lifelong employment or a temporary employment, while what needs to be developed is a permanent contract in the public sector.

It already exists elsewhere. In Sweden, teachers are recruited by school principals, integrate well into the public service, but with a private contract equivalent to a permanent contract, and negotiate their salary in line with market needs and school finances. In Germany, more and more teachers are employed by municipalities and schools, without having official status. In England, the majority of permanent teachers are recruited by the boards of directors of the schools they apply to, but they have a status comparable to that of community agents and are legally employed by one of the 152 local education authorities.

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