More than 1,000 kindergarten teachers are needed in order to fulfill the legal requirement that two thirds of kindergarten staff are trained teachers.
Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
In 2007, 109 students began their studies in education at the Icelandic Teacher Training College. Last year, the number dropped to just 28. At the same time, demand for kindergarten teachers has increased, Frettablaðið reports.
According to the report by the working group on the advancement of kindergarten education, all university places need to be filled in order to produce enough graduates to satisfy the legal requirement that two thirds of kindergarten staff hold a certificate in kindergarten teaching. But, even if all 180 university places are filled each year, the necessary numbers won’t be reached until 2041.
Minister of Education, Science and Culture Katrín Jakobsdóttir says that significant effort needs to be put into promoting the program. Katrín also says that a decision needs to be made on how to address concerns relating to the length of the studies, extended to five years.
“We are concerned that enrolments to the program dropped after it was extended to five years. Many see shortening it again as the easy solution but I am not convinced that that is the solution,” Katrín says.
Chairman of the Icelandic Kindergarten Teachers Union Haraldur Freyr Gíslason says the salary of kindergarten teachers in Iceland is the main issue. “What is needed first and foremost in order to increase numbers in the program is to increase the salary. Some steps were taken with the collective wage agreement in the spring, but that was not enough to increase the number of kindergarten teachers,” he says.
According to the union, the starting salary of a teacher of 34 years or younger with five years of university education is ISK 306,912 (USD 2,520, EUR 2,000) per month.