Pisa debacle and shortage of teachers: The German education system is in dire straits, experts warn. A commission is now helping politicians to recruit teachers.
It is one of the most pressing issues in the German education system: the shortage of teachers. The Standing Scientific Commission (SWK) is now providing politicians with a catalog of recommendations, which were presented in conjunction with a scientific report for the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) on Friday in Berlin.
In recent years, universities have taken some measures to provide information about studies and to ensure student success, according to the summary of the report. However, demand remains low and there are high attrition rates – especially in the shortage subjects. According to the KMK, these include mathematics, chemistry, physics, music and art.
Reliable data needed
In the report, the experts criticize the lack of precise data on the number of new students, but also on study and training histories. Subject-specific forecasts would also only be available selectively. This is important for universities to be able to counteract dropouts, said Olaf Köller, co-chairman of the SWK and managing director of the IPN – Leibniz Institute for the Didactics of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
The paper now recommends eleven measures, for example a nationwide advertising campaign on access to teaching. In addition, data on new students would have to be reliably collected, as well as figures for those leaving for age and other reasons. The experts also suggest opening up a second route into the teaching profession in addition to the classic teacher training course with a new course of study. The traineeship could also be shortened by better combining study and practice.
Quality standards demanded
The President of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and Berlin Senator for Education Katharina Günther-Wünsch warned not to lower quality standards. A look at the reality of schools makes it clear that teaching has long been no longer possible without lateral and lateral entrants, said Günther-Wünsch. There is a not insignificant proportion of students who teach at schools during their bachelor’s degree – so far largely without supervision, without mentoring, without qualification. Shortened training courses for single-subject teachers or dual study programs would have to be discussed.
The shortage of teachers is one of the most pressing issues in education policy at the moment. In January, the commission based at the KMK, which regularly makes recommendations for education policy, painted a bleak picture: schools in Germany are still facing a very long dry spell when it comes to staff, it said in a statement. The shortage threatens to ensure the provision of teaching and affects the quality of teaching.
Slipped at Pisa
The debate is also overshadowed by Pisa: Just this week, the Pisa study showed how much German young people’s performance has slipped. The 15/16-year-olds from Germany achieved the weakest performance values in reading, mathematics and natural sciences that were ever measured for Germany as part of Pisa. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study, released on Tuesday, compares performance in developed countries.
Many schools are suffering from an acute shortage of teachers, while at the same time the performance of students is worrying, said Felicitas Thiel, co-chair of the SWK and professor of school education and school development research at the Free University. “We know from international studies that the skills of teachers are crucial for the learning success of students.” Therefore, the requirements for the job should not be lowered.
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