Slovakia is struggling to replace a generation of disappointed teachers

Schools lack hundreds of teachers.

(Source: Sme - Marko Erd)

Welcome to your weekly commentary and overview of news from Slovakia. Teachers prepare for a street protest, which ministers plan to join. The president has vetoed Matovič’s pet project worth more than a billion euros. The date of municipal and regional elections is announced – and foreigners can vote too. Prehistoric reptiles are named after famous Slovaks.

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Same problem, different government

My kids go to a small, rural elementary school responsible for the early education of about three dozen kids every year. Its one headmaster and one teacher have been teaching there for most of their professional careers, giving generations of locals a good start in a stress-free environment. When the headmaster, who typically worked odd evening and summer jobs while teaching, neared retirement age a few years back he naturally prepared to leave. The local authorities practically begged him to stay. They couldn’t find anyone to take his place. So he did.

There is nothing unique about this story in Slovakia. The Education Ministry’s analytical body, the Education Policy Institute, estimates that Slovakia’s schools will be short by about 1,300 teachers this September compared to last year, and the number could nearly triple by the following school year. By 2025, only three years from now, schools in Slovakia will have trouble filling 8,600 vacancies, the institute estimated in an analysis that Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS) has cited, but which is yet to be published.

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