19% of undergraduates do not want to be a teacher – 05/24/2023 – Education
About a fifth of students in the last year of degree courses in the country do not intend to work as teachers. For specialists in education, the low wages and poor conditions of teaching work make graduates look for other areas to work.
The data are from a questionnaire applied to students enrolled to take the 2021 Enade (National Student Performance Examination), an edition in which undergraduate degrees in the area of human, biological and exact sciences were evaluated.
Minister Camilo Santana defined initial teacher training as one of the bottlenecks in Brazilian education. In one of the first actions at the head of office, he set up a working group to study and propose changes in the curricular structure of degrees and ways to encourage more young people to enter and continue in these courses.
According to Enade, of the 305,215 graduates who completed the questionnaire, 19% say they do not want to work in teaching — 14% say they do not want teaching as their main function and 5% completely discard the career. Others say they still haven’t decided to continue in the profession.
“With the devaluation of the teaching profession, Brazil created a funnel for the training of new professionals. First, it fails to attract young people to a career, then it does not guarantee that many of those who entered a degree will graduate. And it still cannot convince those who graduated to follow the profession”, says Claudia Costin, director of the Center for Educational Policies at FGV.
“Without changing this trajectory, the country runs not only the risk of not attracting well-qualified professionals to the profession, but also of not having enough teachers to meet the country’s demand”, concludes Costin, who is also president of the Singularidades Institute .
Other studies have already warned of the risk of teacher shortages in the future. According to an estimate made by Semesp (Union of Higher Education Supporting Entities), based on data from the Ministry of Education, if the current rate of graduates in degree courses is maintained, Brazilian basic education may lack 235,000 teachers by 2040.
The low attractiveness of the career had already been alerted by a survey by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) in 2018, which identified Brazil as the country with the lowest percentage of young people interested in the profession. Only 2.4% of 15-year-olds wanted to be teachers.
Enade data show that graduates point to vocation as the main motivation for choosing the degree course, indicated by 35%. But 3% say that the option was due to lack of financial conditions to take another course and 2% also say that there was no option for a bachelor’s degree in the area.
After going through high school reluctantly to the idea of following her mother’s profession, Iza Silvério, 24, decided to study pedagogy. She is in her final year of graduation and says she has found herself in the profession.
“The reality of the profession is very difficult and I saw it at home, with my mother. Although she was always enthusiastic and passionate about the profession. I resisted the idea, but, in the end, it was what I wanted to do “, account.
She is an assistant professor at a bilingual private school in São Paulo and recognizes that her working conditions are better than most teachers in the country. “In a private school, with high monthly fees, there are no common problems that the rest face, such as low wages, lack of adequate working conditions. But the lack of recognition of the profession still happens.”
“Many parents do not see the teacher as a professional, but as someone who likes children, as someone with a vocation to educate. Society needs to see our career as the others”, he evaluates.
For experts, the conditions of the teaching career mean that many graduates choose to follow other professional paths upon graduation. For example, graduates in chemistry or physics generally find better wages in the productive sector than in the classroom.
“Those who reach the end of their degree, in general, have done an internship and know the reality of public schools well, they know that they will face adverse conditions in the classroom. That is why many seek to leave teaching”, says Maria Márcia Malavasi, a teacher at Faculty of Education at Unicamp.
They also point out that the unattractiveness of teaching degree curricula can contribute to many students giving up teaching. Courses in Brazil are considered very theoretical and not very connected with classroom reality.