“Job-dating” to remedy the school shortage irritates teachers in France

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A series of ‘job-dating’ fairs to recruit potential secondary school teachers has drawn ire from teachers’ unions, who say it risks lowering standards in the profession.

The demonstrations, which took place over four days at the end of May-beginning of June, were organized by the rectorate of Versailles and Pôle Emploi, to make up for a lack of 2,000 teachers – 2% of its teaching staff – by contract workers.

Most teachers have the status of official in the French national school, which is obtained after five years of university studies and the success of a series of competitions.

However, relatively low salaries and a tendency to dump young teachers into the toughest schools in the Parisian suburbs before they can be transferred to other areas mean there is a nationwide shortage of teachers.

Read more: “Excellent”, “a nightmare”: your thoughts on the French school system

The community of Versailles, which covers most of Paris, says it has a particular need for secondary school teachers in science and mathematics.

In an attempt to calm the situation, job fairs allowed anyone with three years of university studies to apply for a position.

Candidates had 30-minute interviews during which they explained why they thought they would make good teachers.

The organizers have promised a quick response, so that successful applicants can start preparing for the school year as soon as possible.

Contract teachers, called contractualdo not have the same salary or privileges as fully qualified teachers in the system and are offered full-time or part-time short-term employment contracts (known as CDDs).

Their salary is usually the equivalent of €1,700 per month, compared to €2,000 for a regular teacher, and can only be revised upwards after three years of teaching.

If the CDD is for an entire year, the contractual is paid for school holidays, otherwise they are not.

After six years, a contractedI can apply for full teacher status.

The SNES teachers’ union called the job-dating initiative “unacceptable and outrageous”, and said that in addition to the high-profile Versailles initiative, similar events had taken place in Toulouse and Amiens.

“How can anyone think you can assess a teacher candidate’s classroom knowledge and potential with a 30-minute interview?” says the union.

Read more: ‘Macron plans to end Capes teacher exam and lifetime employment status’

The Versailles Academy undertakes to fully support the selected candidates, both upstream and in the future.

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