Some of the demands included adapting the training programme at the University of Luxembourg which is offered for replacement teachers to catch up with a bachelor’s degree. According to Isabelle Bichler, a section president at the FNCTTFEL, only a few candidates are accepted into the programme, even though they all have taught at least for 5 years and completed a 120-hour training course. Bichler stated that only 10 out of 22 candidates passed the exam in 2017/18.
The union demanded more support from the education ministry to get more replacement teachers into a full-time teacher qualification programme.
Another point concerned the “age discharge”, which means that older teachers teach less hours than younger teachers. Replacement teachers, however, receive no discharge hours, but have to take days off if they want to teach less. Moreover, even if they’ve taught for 20 years, substitute teachers have to reapply for their position at the start of each school year if they want to continue working.
As reported in a RTL broadcast on 12 October, Bichler stated during the press conference:
“Qualified teachers have their age discharge hours, which are included into the school schedule. We [replacement teachers] have to request them. In the wake of the shortage, the managing board claims that they don’t have people to replace us and we have to sort it out internally. Which means that a qualified teacher needs to replace me. It looks bad on the ground.”
The education ministry published a parliamentary response (PDF) earlier this week, in which the DP education minister, Claude Meisch, wrote that in the school year of 2016/17, more than 1,000 teachers were substitutes, in addition to the 4,654 qualified staff members. The same letter stated that in 2018, the ministry will hire 291 qualified primary teachers and in 2019, 256 more. By 2020, the ministry expects to fill total of 5,433 positions in the primary education sector.