Despite teacher absenteeism continuing to rise following the introduction of new school reforms last August, municipalities are continuing to cut their budgets to pay substitute teachers.
“This is a really bad place to save money,” Claus Hjortdal, the leader of Skolelederforeningen, the head teachers' union, told DR Nyheder.
“We have invested in the further education and advanced training of teachers so that they are ready to complete the work demanded by school reforms, so we need to have a lot of substitutes in place.”
Problems for school reform
Odense had 28 million kroner in the city budget for substitutes in 2011. But this year, there is only 20 million kroner set aside in the budget for temporary teachers.
“This sounds bad,” Dorte Andreas, the chairperson of the Odense headteacher association, told DR Nyheder. “We will need plenty of substitutes next year.”
Teachers said that being forced to handle large classes without the help of substitutes puts the entire school reform process at risk. The situation in Odense is far from unique. Municipalities across the country are cutting their budgets for substitutes.
“This is foolish, said Hjortdal. “Municipalities need to invest in schools and continuing education and training to ensure that school reform is successful.”