English and Catalan are among subjects affected. | Jaume Morey


An urgent procedure, the third one, to fill vacancies at schools and other educational centres in the Balearics ends on Thursday. At the start of the academic year - September 11 - there were 238 vacancies. The number has been reduced, but there are still 111, the shortage being most acute in Ibiza (56). In Mallorca there are 22 vacancies. Menorca has 20 and Formentera 13.

The vacancies affect vocational training, technology courses in particular, as well as secondary education and Baccalaureate. Subjects include English, Catalan, maths, physics, chemistry and biology.

An historical deficit of specialist teachers has been exacerbated by retirements. Unions say that there are some 400 retirements a year. A further issue, according to Víctor Villatoro of the ANPE union, is that the government created new vocational training programmes last year without taking into account that there weren't the teachers.

"At the ANPE we demand that places be filled as soon as possible, even if teachers do not have the specific qualification. It is more serious to leave students without a teacher than to have a teacher without a master's degree." The union argues the case for there to be 'expert teachers' who do not have specific qualifications but who would enable more flexible recruitment.

A shortage of teachers is also the result of a familiar complaint in the Balearics - the cost of living. The unions want changes that will guarantee access to housing and benefits and which are adapted to the realities of Balearic insularity.

This said, a study by the UGT union earlier this year found that teachers in the Balearics are among the best paid in Spain. This was partly due to a residency supplement. The study stated that a teacher's monthly salary typically ranged between 2,404 and 2,840 euros.