How can more professionals become teachers?
Every municipality in Sweden is in dire need of more teachers, and government after government has created more places for teacher education in the institutions of higher education. However, one part of the solution may be rather to attract people who are already active in working life to the teaching profession.
Linköping University has just been awarded money from the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation to start initial project planning to develop a model for how institutions of higher education can collaborate with companies and schools to attract more people who are already working in professional life to the teaching profession. The money arrives at the same time as Minister for Education Anna Ekström and Minister for Higher Education and Research Matilda Ernkrans (both from the Swedish Social Democratic Party) have announced an initiative known as the “National Assembly for the Teaching Profession”.
“Indeed – the shortage of teachers is really in the news at the moment, and at LiU we are eager to help find solutions to what is a national challenge. The teacher shortage has never been greater throughout the school system”, says UllaKarin Sundqvist Nilsson, project manager.
“Society is undergoing rapid change. Working life is increasingly affected by what we call the ‘digital transformation’ and many jobs will, quite simply, disappear. And living in a period of pandemic is accelerating the need for change. So it can be an alternative for experienced and skilled people to get into teaching. If we can find ways to make the realignment easier, both the employers, schools and ourselves will benefit”, UllaKarin points out.
Universities in Sweden have found it difficult to attract more students to study programmes in teaching, even though employment after graduation is essentially guaranteed. Maybe the problem can be solved in another way, while still using the study programmes in teaching that are already established. And if this is the case, maybe LiU is now in a good position to contribute to a solution, with its experience of supplementary courses in teaching methods, validation, and teacher education in the workplace.
“I’m sure that there’s an enormous potential if we can get the institutions of higher education, school owners, companies and organisations to collaborate in working to increase the numbers of teachers in Swedish schools”, says Jörgen Nissen, dean of educational sciences at LiU.
He continues: “It’s all about finding people who have valuable expertise, who want to become teachers and help schools to improve. If we can manage that, it will be of great benefit for schools, which will gain new expertise and experience.”
The award from the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation amounts to SEK 818,000 and will be used for the project “Initial project planning: Teachers with Other Professional Experience – collective initiatives for Swedish industry, the business world and schools”.
Translated by George Farrants
Last updated: 2020-11-13