According to Expresso newspaper, a study from the Nova School of Business and Economics University estimates that, by 2030, 40% of the 120 thousand Portuguese teachers will be retired and so, it will be necessary to hire on average 3.400 new teachers each year during this decade. The problem lies in the fact that, even though the number of students is thought to decline by 15%, the volume of teachers expected to retire is still higher than the decrease of students. In addition, in the last school year, 1.567 students graduated in education, a number that is lower than half of the new teachers’ demand. This need for new teachers will be more visible in the North of the country, mainly in pre-schools and elementary schools.
However, Diário de Notícias states that this problem of lack of teachers is not just a future scenario. There is currently a shortage of teachers in the regions of Lisboa e Vale do Tejo and Algarve, especially in the areas of Informatics, English, Portuguese (mother tongue) and Geography in secondary schools.
To address this issue, as stated by Observador, the Portuguese Ministry of Education is developing a programme to train graduates from other areas besides education, to become teachers. For that, people that want to embrace this career will need a higher education degree and will go through a process that includes a one-year internship in the school in which they will teach in the following years, as well as a theory-based training programme done at distance by a higher education institution. This process has been foreseen by the Portuguese Government since the 1980s but was never implemented.
In this sense, the LOOP Project can be beneficial as it aims to empower teachers’ personal, professional, and social continuous development, by providing an innovative peer-induction programme for new teachers initiating their careers. This programme aims to provide guidance and mentoring supporting the professional development and social-culture integration of the teachers in their hosting schools, increasing their motivation.