The cracks in Portugal’s education system appear to be worsening. There are "thousands of students without teachers" and “many complaints from parents and guardians in the Algarve, PSD MP Cristóvão Norte said earlier today.
The Algarve parliamentarian pointed to the difficulty prospective teachers experience in finding a home as one of the main factors for the crumbling of the region’s schools. This is due to exceedingly high rent prices, especially in the summer months, and the low nature of the salaries in the field of education.
Mr. Norte also argued that “it is urgent to find a solution so that the Algarvean students are not harmed in their learning and work”.
Official data cited by the MP "shows that there are precisely 2175 teaching hours left without any teacher to fill them.” And this issue isn’t solely a problem in the Algarve, it is causing chaos in Lisbon’s schools also, and for strikingly similar reasons. Ultimately it seems as if those with high responsibility positions but low salaries are becoming victims of the property market’s extortionate prices, even more so than in the past.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education attempts to cover up the evident cracks in their dear educations system by claiming that "it has no report of any anomalous situation or a systemic shortage of teachers", this is despite the fact that numerous complaint have been filed.
“I have received letters from understandably disgruntled parents who say that their children have the same right to education as others. It is imperative to find a solution so as not to compromise the learning of these students and to ensure equal opportunities. There are cases of some school years not having a single teacher available to teach certain subjects. This is intolerable,” added Mr. Norte.
In recent years the need for a strong education system has become more and more obvious, as tourism grows more jobs are created in the region, but not every student wants to work in the industry that is the beating heart of the Algarve’s economy. Many want to escape the cycle and go to university to seek a better life for themselves elsewhere.
“The Algarve has experienced economic growth since 2013, largely based on tourism, which has reduced unemployment, but has the disadvantage that rising demand and stagnant supply have pushed rents to unbearable levels, which puts access to housing as a hindrance in terms of attracting workers to the region, whether we are talking about teachers, doctors, service professionals or others.”
The MP also made an excellent point regarding the nosedive in construction companies in the Algarve, which appears to be the driving factor behind the stagnant supply of accommodation which simply doesn’t meet the public demand.
“The fact that 50% of the construction companies went bankrupt in 2009, and that the state withdrew from intervention, causes a very serious problem in the region”, framed the PSD parliamentarian.
With this in mind, he shone a spotlight on the need to “ encourage construction, review the tax regime for leasing and, for the future, non-habitual residents in housing shortages and to place public real estate on the market to bring the prices down.”
“However, as this is not resolved overnight, the Government must take positive measures to normalize the lives of these families and pupils at this moment in time”
Mr. Norte concluded by saying that this will be "one of the main priorities of the three PSD MPs elected by the Algarve" - himself, Rui Cristina and Ofélia Ramos.