Many teachers work part-time. The Minister of Education advises limiting the possibilities for this. Not such a good idea – find teachers’ associations.
Despite the rampant shortage of teachers in Germany, associations advise against restricting or prohibiting part-time work. “A policy that tries to go this way makes the situation worse,” said the chairwoman of the German Association of Philologists, Susanne Lin-Klitzing, the newspapers of the media group Bavaria (Thursday). According to the media report, Lin-Klitzing and the head of the German Teachers’ Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, fear significant disadvantages for women if the opportunity to work part-time is restricted.
According to the Federal Statistical Office in mid-February, 40.6 percent of the approximately 709,000 teachers worked part-time in the 2021/2022 school year. That was the highest part-time rate in the past ten years. Women in particular often reduce their working hours: the part-time rate for female teachers was 48.2 percent, more than twice as high as for teachers, of whom 20.1 percent worked part-time.
According to the information, a good quarter (25.7 percent) of the teachers were between 50 and 59 years old, 10.9 percent were 60 years and older. The proportion of younger people starting their careers is lower: under 35-year-olds accounted for 21.1 percent of teachers at general schools.
The Standing Scientific Commission, an advisory body to the Conference of Ministers of Education, proposed in January to limit the possibilities for this. “This is where the largest employment reserve lies,” the committee had stated. Even a moderate increase in the working hours of all part-time teachers would have significant effects, the experts emphasize.
What is the criticism of the proposal?
Meidinger replied: “The problem is that the restriction of part-time opportunities creates additional capacities in the short term, but makes the profession less attractive to those who currently choose it the most: young women.” One could hold a debate about moderately restricting part-time opportunities, he said. However, changes should not be implemented overnight, because this would have a profound effect on the life plans of many people.
Lin-Klitzing said: “Ultimately, it’s about people who want to take responsibility for their own families and children in general with their part-time work.” All emancipation efforts must be aimed at ensuring that both sexes support one’s own family equally, she demanded.
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