Omicron makes teacher shortage in salzburg visible

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Corona has not only caused grievances, but above all has highlighted them. An example of this is the shortage of teachers in compulsory schools. Now in Salzburg, hours are being subtracted from speech-language teachers to maintain regular operations. Professional representatives fear the worst, education director tries to reassure.

"With the instruction of the education directorate of Salzburg to use the hours of speech-language teachers for other purposes, the starting signal is given for massive savings, which will reduce the offer and the quality of our compulsory schools lastingly", worries the chairwoman of the "Salzburger Lehrer/innenverein" SALVE, Christina Haslauer, in a mailing.

Edit language deficits in time

The task of speech-language teachers is to assist children with speech and language difficulties in the acquisition and use of language. Deficits that need to be recognized and dealt with in time.

Even though the number of speech therapy teachers – i.e. teachers with primary school education and special speech therapy training – is small, this new regulation is also feared to lead to the end of more individual lessons for the children, Haslauer said today in an interview with SALZBURG24. Of course, it is necessary to maintain the regular operation of the schools, but this is the wrong way and the lack of teachers is thus carried out on the backs of the children.

Supplier regulation "temporary

Education director Rudolf Mair confirms to SALZBURG24 that mobile teachers are used for supplier hours. This is admittedly only a temporary measure. A total of around 15 language school teachers are affected, he said. In addition, he said, a pool of a total of 130 students and retired colleagues has been created to draw on. "We maintain the quality in our compulsory schools," emphasizes Mair, but it is not possible to "conjure up" teachers. So far, two small compulsory schools in Salzburg have been closed by decree for five days since Christmas – also because of teacher shortages.

"The pandemic is wearing us down

The shortage of teachers at compulsory schools in particular is enormous – "but that hasn’t just been the case since Corona". Mair evaluates the precarious situation as the result of several factors: retirement wave, the prolonged education and the decreased employment level of those who are starting anew. "Omicron is currently causing about ten percent to fail." This would be no more than during a normal flu season. And so far, most of the shortfalls have been compensated for by supplements. The main problem with the pandemic, therefore, is not the absences, but that it has gone on for so long "and that wears you down," says the education director.


No major teacher absences due to omicron

The feared teacher absences during the Omikron wave at schools has largely failed to materialize throughout Austria. In the province of Salzburg, as of last week, 107 teachers are in ..

Challenges "Teacher shortage remains

The Salzburg teachers’ association SALVE and the APS trade union miss the "really big signals" in the fight against the shortage of teachers. Admittedly, only policymakers can set the framework. Aware of the problem, the Ministry of Education is trying to counteract it with lateral entry models, demand surveys in the regions and targeted control, Education Minister Martin Polaschek announced in a press release at the beginning of January.

Fact: The number of children and young people of compulsory school age will increase by more than five percent throughout Austria by 2030 – in the same period, a quarter of teachers at elementary schools and a third at middle schools will retire. Recruiting new teachers was, is and will remain a key challenge.

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