Education specialists warn of teacher shortage in Sweden
Last Updated: 2016-08-11 05:47 | Xinhua
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While more people are applying for teacher-training courses in Sweden this year compared to last, it is not enough to cover the country's growing shortage of trained teachers, the National Teachers' Association said.

A total of 16,561 people have been accepted to teacher-training courses in Sweden for the 2016 fall and spring terms. While that is an increase compared to last year, it is still not enough to solve the country's teacher shortage, according to the National Teachers' Association.

A forecast published earlier this year by the Swedish Higher Education Authority -- the government agency responsible for quality assurance of higher education -- showed that existing teacher-training programs cover roughly 60 percent of the current need for trained teachers. That means at least 21,000 people would need to start training as teachers, as opposed to the 16,561 registered to enroll in the next two terms.

"There has been a gradual increase in applicants over the past four to five years," Carina Hellgren of the Swedish Council for Higher Education, told Swedish Television News. "I think that is due to an increased awareness of the fact that this is an education that leads to a job."

Johanna Jaara Astrand, president of the National Teachers' Association, welcomed the news of a growing number of teacher-training applicants, but said more needs to be done to address the shortage.

"It does not at all represent the needs we have," Jaara Astrand said, adding that, within the next five years, Sweden needs 60,000 new teachers and that the country needs to be able to train more people. Higher education institutions need more resources to be able to accept more students, she said.

"There simply is a lack of teachers for teachers," Jaara Astrand said.

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