Where have all the good men gone? Estonia lacks male teachers (4)

Priit Kruus, a young male teacher
10/2/2015 4:47 PM
Category: Education

October 5 is the World Teacher's Day. According to Eurostat's data released on the occasion, Estonia has the smallest share of male teachers in the EU.

The fact that the vast majority of teachers in Estonia are women is by no means a surprise. But it has now found confirmation that Estonia has by far the highest share of female teachers in the European Union – 88.2 percent. The other Baltic states – Latvia (83.2 percent) and Lithuania (81.2 percent) – are not doing much better, while in Spain almost every third teacher is male.

The situation is worst in pre-primary level, where 99.5 percent of teachers are women. The situation is somewhat better in secondary education, where every fourth teachers is male (23.3 percent).

According to Ahti Noor, a doctoral student at Tallinn Univesity and a teacher at Keila School, there are around 2,000 male teachers in Estonian primary and secondary schools. Most of them teach sciences, physical education or religious studies, although the latter is a new and mostly voluntary subject in Estonian schools.

About 40 of Estonia's 500 schools don't have a single male teacher, Noor added.

Noor cites teacher's low salaries, weak social status and outdated gender roles as main reasons for the lack of men in schools.

M. Oll

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