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Meritocracy at heart of new teacher appointment system

By Evie Andreou

Young graduates would have to wait between 30 and 100 years to be appointed as teachers in state schools, depending on their subject, under the current appointment system, according to an assessment report of the exam results of candidates wishing to work as educators.

A report assessing the results of the teaching exams – the first ones to take place as part of the new teacher appointment system – was sent by the education ministry to MPs this week.

In total, 5,020 of almost 6,000 people who registered for the exams took the tests and of those, only 1,869, some 37.2 per cent, passed. This, the ministry had said when the results were announced in late March, was proof the goal had been achieved as only the most competent would now enter the state education system.

The assessment of these results, the report said, further confirms this position, as an initial analysis of the results of the exams that were held in last autumn, “demonstrates the success of the institution”. The existing appointment system is based on list seniority.

Comparing the 1,826 people who passed the teaching exams and registered with the new lists for appointment candidates with the first 1,826 people on the seniority lists, the report said that the former had more academic qualifications, since 53 per cent hold a postgraduate degree, compared to 48 per cent of those on the seniority lists. The average age of those on the new lists is 32, it said, while that of the seniority lists is 40.

More than 60 per cent of those who passed the exams have additional qualifications and almost 30 per cent have teaching experience, it said.  It also said that 21 per cent hold a bachelor degree with honours compared with the 11 per cent of those on the seniority lists.

“The overwhelming majority of successful candidates have an excellent profile and pedigree to succeed in the role of teacher in public schools,” the report said.

It also said that the results “suggest that this new system has already provided an important opportunity for several new scientists to pursue a career in public education”.

“Most of them, would never have the possibility of being appointed or would be appointed at a much older age with the existing appointment system,” it said.

Young graduates wishing to work as teachers in public education, “would never see appointment,” with the existing system, the report said, as the average waiting time to receive a permanent job offer in primary education is between 30 and 80 years, while in higher education – with the exception of four specialties – the average exceeds by far 100 years.

“The situation is disheartening,” the report said.

The new teacher appointment system, offers a greater possibility of employment in public education as one in eight – 12.5 per cent – could land a job, compared to only 1.5 per cent in the civil service.

According to the report, successful candidates – especially those who received top grades and have additional qualifications and experience – have moved up on lists surpassing between 650 and 4,000 people, depending on their subject.

Three candidates among the top 20 who passed the exams in philology exams, the report said, with the old system, even though they hold post graduate degrees and have teaching experience, would see appointment in 65 years. With the new system they will be appointed “immediately”, it said.

The new appointment system, the report said, is expected to benefit pupils, “who are at the heart of the efforts and policies of the ministry of education and culture and is expected to contribute to improving learning outcomes, enhancing confidence of parents and guardians in public education, improve the image of the educational profession in society and in the long term, in the overall upgrading of public education”.

The introduction of a new appointment system was deemed necessary to ensure that state school teachers were truly qualified to teach, something which could not be guaranteed by the old system, based on appointment according to seniority on waiting lists.

Under a law passed in 2016, from September 2018 until August 31, 2027, some 50 per cent of appointments will be made from waiting lists and 50 per cent according to the new system. From September 2027, all appointments will be made based on merit.

The new teacher appointment system will take into consideration each candidate’s exam results, their university degree grade, additional academic qualifications and teaching experience.


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