9 March 2016

Ministry of Education, Culture and Science grants 1.4 million Euros

Universities set up teacher training programmes to alleviate shortage of Computer Science and Chemistry teachers

Docent en leerlingen tijdens een scheikundepracticum
Instruction during chemistry lab; Photo: Fridolin van der Lecq

Science faculties at Dutch universities will soon offer teacher training programmes to alleviate the serious shortage of teachers in Computer Science and Chemistry. These teacher training courses will offer university students and people from other fields who lack certain specialist knowledge a more flexible route to enter the teaching profession. The universities of Groningen, Twente and Utrecht are the guiding forces behind these programmes, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science as set aside 1.4 million Euros for financing.

“Several schools have been forced to stop offering Computer Science courses due to a lack of suitable teachers”, explains the project applicant, Dr. Elwin Savelsbergh from Utrecht University. “And the shortage of Chemistry and Computer Science teachers is expected to double over the next few years. The proportion of first degree teachers, who act as ambassadors to make students enthusiastic about studying the exact sciences after secondary school, is decreasing at an even more rapid pace.”

New target groups

The teacher training programmes are intended to appeal to new groups of potential teachers, such as university students in broad or interdisciplinary science study programmes. They already have plenty of knowledge of Computer Science or Chemistry, but they lack some of the didactic skills necessary to teach secondary school students. Until now, it has proven difficult to provide this group with the necessary skills, as they had to attend regular Bachelor’s courses several times per week in addition to their own studies.

Online

The new teacher training programmes Chem4all and Inf4all will allow prospective teachers to complete some of the required modules online in order to fill the gaps in their knowledge. They will only have to attend classroom lectures in the city centre of Utrecht one day per week.

Continuing education

The teacher training programmes are also explicitly intended as a way to provide continuing education for current teachers. The modules are mainly interesting to those who are preparing for changes planned for the new examination curricula for Chemistry and Computer Science.

Also for Mathematics and Physics

All of the Chemistry and Computer Science study programmes at Dutch universities will take on part of the teaching duties for Chem4all and Inf4all. Similar teacher training programmes are already available for Physics (Natk4all) and Mathematics (Mastermath). So the universities can now offer an attractive route for individuals with an academic education to obtain their first-class teaching certificate in order to help reduce the shortage of teachers in all of the exact sciences.

More information

Websites: inf4all.nl and chem4all.nl

Contact

Monica van der Garde, Press Spokesperson, Utrecht University, m.vandergarde@uu.nl, 06 13 66 14 38.