Even with the exact number of missing teachers, the estimates differ widely. The ministries of education say there are 12,000 jobs, 8,000 of them in NRW alone. Between 32,000 and 40,000, claims the German Teachers’ Association. “In recent years, there has been a failure to train and hire enough teachers. Since the early 2000s, it has been foreseeable that we in NRW would fall into a big deficit in view of the demographic change,” says Sabine Mistler, Chairwoman of the Philology Association (PHV) NRW. The increased influx of refugees, 40,000 new students in North Rhine-Westphalia alone since the start of the Ukraine war, and at the same time a decreasing number of young people starting teacher training, are added to this. In fact, according to the State Statistical Office, the number of first-year teachers for a teaching position at NRW universities in the 2022/23 winter semester was more than 15 percent lower than two years earlier. While there were still 10,300 beginners in 2020/21, this number has shrunk to just 8703 in the current winter semester.