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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Minister of Education Stark-Watzinger: “We don’t give children the same opportunities”

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Fewer and fewer young people want to become teachers. At the same time, there are dramatic conditions in schools, especially when it comes to reading and spelling skills – teachers are therefore urgently needed. Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger summarizes the problem.

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Depending on the combination of subjects and the class, a teacher may work 60 hours a week. During the much-cited ‘relaxed’ holidays, it is not uncommon for exams to be corrected or other work to be done. And the pressure keeps increasing. Because nowadays school should not only impart knowledge, but also social skills and ideally even more, which is left behind at home. At the same time, the structures in the “school” system have been stuck for decades, the technology is outdated, classrooms are dilapidated. No wonder, then, that the number of teaching degree graduates has also fallen in the last ten years – by 13.8 percent, according to the Federal Statistical Office. The Federal Minister for Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, from the FDP knows that the teaching profession must be made more attractive. In the 451st edition of the podcast “Today important” she says: “We support digital teaching for teachers at the federal level with competence centers. We will set up a start-opportunity program that the independent school also has. We support the federal side to leave here so that something can change.”

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Minister of Education Stark-Watzinger: “The classrooms are still very analogue”

Schools must become more digital in order to be able to keep up in international comparison. But even here there is a big discrepancy. While some learn with iPads and only work on the digital board, other schools still use the good old overhead projectors. Here, the education minister wants to move away from the cliché “education is a matter for the federal states” and towards bundled competences in the ministry in Berlin: “My idea is […] that the federal government on overriding issues such as digitization […] takes on more responsibility, clarifies the division of tasks and then assigns the roles in order to use the funds efficiently,” said Stark-Watzinger in an interview with “today important” host Michel Abdollahi. That is why the minister is also demanding an education billion: “We have a Climate Protection Immediate Program. […] We don’t have that in education. Where is the immediate education program?”

Special support for socially disadvantaged children

A fifth of elementary school students lack essential basic knowledge in reading, arithmetic and writing. This also has an effect later on in the job and when looking for training and also keeps the minister busy. Her ministry wants to provide even more targeted support here, also through her personal experience. Because when her children were in elementary school, she worked as a parents’ councilor for children who had to struggle with different requirements and help options: “Of course I would like to give every child more opportunities, more education. But we have to get away from the ‘ Watering can’ and towards those who have little support.” A reduction in bureaucracy at all levels could help as a first step. Both in the promotion of the students and in the design of the teaching profession. But most decisions are still made in the federal states, the Federal Minister for Education and Research can only make suggestions here.

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Source: Stern

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