Let Pap Ndiaye be reassured, it is not only in France that teachers are missing. Italy, Germany, United Kingdom … It is increasingly difficult to guarantee “a teacher in front of each class”, the French Minister of National Education’s battle horse, on the eve of the start of the school year. “The most beautiful job in the world” as Pap Ndiaye calls it is “losing attractiveness” almost everywhere in Europe.

Published on June 9, a senatorial report estimated that 26,000 vacancies in the German primary cycle by 2025, when Sweden was already struggling this year to recruit 77,000 teachers before the start of the school year. In Italy, 150,000 positions are held by substitutes. In France, 4,000 positions have not been filled in the competition this year. Only Finland and the German-speaking community of Belgium consider themselves spared.

“All European countries are (…) faced with growing difficulties in recruiting teachers, suggesting a real European “crisis of attractiveness” for the profession of teacher”, concluded this report, led by Gérard Longuet, Senator LR of the Meuse. Considered too low in many countries, wages are partly fueling disengagement. Especially in France, where they are up to 15% lower than the OECD average, depending on seniority.

Armed with this observation, the French executive is agitating for “significant upgrades”, especially at the start of a career. The idea? Support the flood of candidates for the secondary education competition, which dried up by 30% between 2008 and 2022. And plug the leaks: the number of resigning teachers, “far from being a temporary phenomenon”, increased by 528% since 2008, reports the Senate.

However, the savings alone do not explain the lack of interest, especially on a European scale. Highly remunerative countries in terms of education are not immune to the crisis. According to the OECD, German teachers earn twice as much as the European average, without attracting more. Same observation in Portugal, where “salaries are now much higher than those of French teachers”, notes the Senate.

The salary alone does not reveal the state of health of education. In Germany, investments in education in general are proportionally less important, and the number of pupils per class is much higher, than in France. The crisis is also existential. According to the OECD, only 30% of teachers in the euro zone feel valued by society. In France, almost all teachers claim to suffer from a lack of consideration. They also denounce a form of isolation linked to the lack of collaboration between classes.

Thus, the responses of governments are multiple, and go well beyond the massive use of contractors. In England, the Ministry of Education is trying to steer teachers towards territories and subjects that are shunned, by offering bonuses and advantages. Other countries facilitate their recruitment, such as the Czech Republic or Italy, where the disparities between regions are also very strong. Norway has encouraged collaboration between teachers, mayors and county authorities. As for Finland, the ministry allows regular training and values ​​initiatives more strongly than in France.

The action of other countries could thus be of interest to National Education. In his report, Senator Gérard Longuet recommends “taking inspiration from the experiences of other European school systems to develop cooperation activities between teachers, and setting up within the Ministry of National Education a real service dedicated to international comparisons, beyond the processing and production of statistics”. Ogle on his neighbor to improve his results at school is sometimes good.