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Portugal's teacher workforce ageing and shrinking

Photo by Redd F on Unsplash

The National Education Council's (CNE) annual State of Education report, concerning the year of 2022, brought to light the severity of the teacher shortage problem facing Portugal.

"In Portugal, in 2013, 28% of teachers were at least 50 years old. In 2018, this was 47%, while the average for OECD countries was 34%. In 2021/2022, this figure raised to between 56.5% and 59.0%, except in primary schools, where these age group accounted for 43.9%. of teachers" Moreover, around 30,000 teachers in the public system were over 60 years of age. This number suggests that a quarter of current teachers could leave the education system in the next few years, exacerbating the already visible shortage of teachers in schools.

The report also points out that, in 2021/22, 1,682 graduates completed a teaching degree (+151 compared to the previous year), but that figure that does not make up for the number of retirements (2,206) in the same year.

"In 2023, the problem worsened with an increase in retirements of more than 44 %, and in 2024, in the first quarter, this figure even exceeds the maximum seen in the millennium, in 2013."

The Lisbon metropolitan area has the highest number of schools with teacher shortages, with special education, Portuguese, IT, primary education, English, Geography and Maths being the most affected.

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