German schools are recruiting science teachers from Poland with excellent pay offers at a time when Poland has a shortage of such teachers, the Dziennik Polski newspaper has reported.
The recruitment effort, which includes English teachers, is so intensive that the Germans have posted 1,500 job openings with Solidarity, the union that represents Polish teachers.
However, the union ? at least in some locations — is not informing its members about the openings for fear of a stampede to Germany.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that fewer young Poles are studying math and science at universities because the subjects are difficult, school administrators say. And many of those who begin science or math studies quit after a short time.
The Polish teachers who are most in demand in Germany ?are teachers of pure science subjects? ? mathematics, physics and computer science,? said Wojciech Kotarba of Solidarity?s Malopolska Region branch. He is chief of the union?s Science and Education Section in the region.
German schools are offering wages of 2,000 to 3,000 euro per month and accommodation, Kotarba said. That compares with the zloty equivalent of 300 to 600 euro per month in Poland, depending on experience.
With that difference in pay, Kotarba said, he is afraid that many Polish teachers will go to Germany, leaving Polish schools short of science teachers.
At the same time that the Germans are recruiting, the School Superintendent?s Office in the Malopolska Region is advertising many teachers? jobs on the Internet. Thus Solidarity?s Malopolska Region is not telling its members about the openings, although it provides information to members who have heard about the openings ?through the grapevine,? Kotarba said.
In addition to English teachers, this year?s most-sought-after instructors in Germany are mathematicians and physicists.
?We do not have a problem finding English teachers at our school because many new graduates have just finished language colleges,? said Malgorzata Stando, principal of a primary school in Jablonka, 85 kilometers from Krakow in the Malopolska Region. She has had difficulty finding math teachers, however.
Maria Dudzik, head of a primary school in Czeslaw, 33 kilometers from Krakow, said she has also been able to find English teachers ? but has also had to scramble for math teachers.
University math departments are finding themselves short of students, Stando said. ?Mathematics studies are very hard and not many young people want to do it,? she said.
An example of this trend, Dziennik Polski said, is that the smallest number of students in all the departments at the Teachers University in Krakow is in the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Technical Science.
Last year the university had only one student applicant for every two openings in physics and only three applicants for every two openings in math. In contrast, there were 16 applicants for every opening in English and 10 for every opening in political science.
?We are worried about the Polish school situation and about the future of mathematics instructing,? said Professor Wladyslaw Blasiak, assistant dean of the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Technical Science.
Because the coursework is so challenging, ?half of the pure science students leave after the first semester,? he said. ?Only a handful manage to finish.?