Teacher shortage in Switzerland to last a decade, government says

Teacher shortage in Switzerland to last a decade, government says

Statistics published by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) show that the ongoing teacher shortage in Switzerland could continue until at least 2031. Primary schools are in a particularly tricky spot, with more than 47.000 new teachers needed in the next decade.

Switzerland will see a shortfall of teachers in the next decade

The number of teachers that will need to be trained in Switzerland in order to maintain a high standard of education in schools is between 43.000 and 47.000, the FSO noted. As things stand, the amount of teachers that will be trained in the next decade is just 34.000, leaving a net shortage of around 10.000 teachers. 

Since many teachers are expected to retire in the next decade, the Swiss government is desperately attempting to come up with strategies to prevent disruption. According to the FSO, the shortfall will be covered by using foreign teachers, educators that are qualified to teach at different levels and students currently undertaking a teaching degree at a Swiss university.

Major variations in teaching shortages across cantons

The severity of the teacher shortage varies between Swiss cantons. In north-western Switzerland, including Canton Bern, the teacher shortage is likely to remain prevalent into the next decade, while in Canton Zurich the shortage is likely to balance out, according to the FSO.

Aside from the need for new primary school teachers, the FSO found that there is a shortage of secondary school teachers too. There is a need for 26.000 to 29.000 new secondary school teachers over the next decade. Teachers wishing to work at the secondary school level require much more specific qualifications, complicating the issue of recruiting new educators even more.  

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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StefanieBusseDi... 14:53 | 19 May 2023

Interesting article. While other countries are facing similar problems, in Switzerland this problem is exacerbated by the fact that the majority of primary school teachers in the German speaking parts of Switzerland are working part time, many of them 50% or less. Given that Swiss education policy is in the responsibility of decentralised cantonal governments, it will be difficult to tackle this problem at a national level, e.g. by introducing requirements for teachers to work at least 80%. It remains to be seen what happens with the start of the new school year this summer. Stefanie Busse, Swiss Education Consulting