The municipality of Reykjanesbær in Southwest Iceland is short of teachers and needs about as many new instructors as are graduating from the Teacher Education Program at the University of Iceland this year.
This fall, it has been difficult to fill the vacancies in six primary schools in the municipality. According to ruv.is, Gylfi Jón Gylfason, director of education for Reykjanesbær, believes that the situation is similar in other parts of the country. “There are about 30 to 35 students graduating from the Teacher Education Program of the University of Iceland this year and we need between 20 and 30 teachers to fill all positions,” he said. Not included in these numbers are graduates from the University of Akureyri. “There are not enough graduates to keep up with the normal renewal of the staff,” he added. The situation is due to the fact that the Teacher Education Program was extended so that it takes longer to graduate, and the wages have not risen in line with the longer university studies.
Moreover, says Gylfi, the economy seems to be expanding again. “We find that the wheels start turning and teachers are looking for better jobs. We saw it during the boom years, and we see it now.”
About 220 teachers are employed in Reykjanesbær and 20 positions are yet to be filled. Gylfi says that temporary staff helps fill the gap but professionally educated teachers are important not only for the educational system but for society as a whole. “ … It is urgent , not only for the school system but also for society as a whole, that we can get students to study teaching.