The warning is left in the annual report of the National Education Council (CNE), which draws a picture of the Portuguese education system in the 2019/2020 school year and reveals two contradictory trends that could soon worsen the shortage of teachers.
In the last decade, the percentage of higher education graduates in Education courses fell from 8.6 percent in 2011 to 5 percent in 2020, placing Portugal below the OECD and European Union average.
In addition to the drop at the exit of universities, when it comes time to choose a degree there are also fewer students opting for this area and despite a slight increase in the 2019/2020 academic year compared to the previous one, there were 52.4 percent less enrolled than in 2010/2011.
In the report, the CNE also recalls the need for master's degree for the professional qualification for teaching, pointing out that also here the demand has been insufficient.
This year, the most popular masters was in pre-school education and 1st cycle, with 860 students enrolled, while the masters in Mathematics for the 3rd cycle and secondary school, for example, had only 75 students.
"If this trend continues, there may be some difficulty in hiring properly qualified teachers in the near future", warns CNE, stressing, on the other hand, the progressive ageing of the teaching profession at all levels and levels of education.
Looking at the profile of teachers, the report notes that from nursery school to secondary school, more than half of teachers are over 50 years old - while in 2010/ 2011, this percentage was 27.1 percent.
On the other hand, the number of young teachers is very small and, in a decade, the percentage of teachers under 30 years old has gone from 7.4 percent to 1.6 percent.
"The 2020/2021 teacher census for mainland Portugal shows that slightly more than 15 percent of teachers in pre-school, primary and secondary education were aged 60 or over, which means that in the next seven years, public education could lose 19 479 teachers to retirement.
An analysis of the profile of teachers by pay scale, this ageing is also visible: at the top of the career (10th pay scale), the average age is 60.7 years, with 38.6 years of service, while at the top pay scale teachers have an average of 45.4 years of age and 15.7 years of service.
In November, a prospective study published by the Ministry of Education also pointed to the worsening shortage of teachers, due to the increase in retirements and the reduced number of graduates, estimating that by 2030/2031 it would be necessary to hire around 34,500 professionals to ensure there is no shortage of teachers in schools.