“So many graduates, so few vacancies.”
This is the predicament faced by most of this year’s batch of prospective teachers.
According to an online survey conducted by the Hong Kong Prospective Teachers Association from January to May and released on Wednesday, 56 percent of the 1,067 respondents who expect to receive their diplomas in education this academic year said they doubt if they can get a teaching job, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The good news is that the ratio is down 19 percentage points from a similar survey in 2012, which suggests that the confidence of prospective teachers has improved, said Lui Chi-ling, vice chairman of the association.
Still, the survey shows that most of the graduates feel that they may have to look for other jobs.
Based on data collected by the association from recruitment websites, there were only 391 vacancies in the city’s secondary schools posted between April and June 18, an increase of only 26 slots from the same period in 2012, while the number of the prospective teachers reached 900.
That means six in every 10 prospective teachers may not be able to land teaching jobs.
Instead, they may have to settle for other positions such as teaching assistant or associate teacher.
No wonder nearly seven in 10 of the respondents said they had thought about pursuing another career, up 4 percent from 2012.
Lui urged the government to add teaching posts to the school system instead of just waiting for natural attrition, as expected by the Education Bureau.
The bureau said earlier quite a number of teachers will retire in the academic year that begins in September this year, opening slots for new graduates.
Meanwhile, the administration under incoming Chief Executive Carrie Lam has proposed to raise the class-teacher ratio by 0.1 to 1-1.6, 1-1.8 and 1-2.1 for classes in primary, junior secondary and senior secondary schools respectively. This will mean adding about 2,200 teaching posts.
But Lui said the move, even if realized, is still not good enough to ease the oversupply of teachers.
The ratio should be raised by another 0.1 or 0.2 to bring the total number of new teaching posts to about 4,400, he said.
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