Shortage of skilled workers: Paus and states are fighting for billions in daycare funding

Shortage of skilled workers: Paus and states are fighting for billions in daycare funding

Enough and good daycare places for parents and their children in Germany – that is the goal of politics. The need is great. But this year, federal funding worth billions will end.

Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) and the federal states are insisting on high funding amounts for Germany’s daycare centers from next year onwards from Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP). It is important that the federal government continues to contribute financially to the quality development of child day care after 2024, said Paus in Berlin. Together with the states, Paus presented recommendations against the shortage of skilled workers in daycare centers.

The Federal Council had already called on the federal government on Friday to continue to help finance improvements in daycare quality beyond the current year. In their resolution, the states emphasize: “This includes the permanent continuation of financing by the federal government from 2025 as well as the necessary dynamization of the funds (…).”

End of federal financial participation?

On the basis of the Kita Quality Improvement Act (Good Kita Act), the states had committed themselves to complying with certain standards. However, the federal government’s financial participation ends at the end of this year. A sequel is not yet planned. As part of the Kita Quality Act, the federal government supported the states with around four billion euros in 2023 and 2024.

The chairwoman of the state family and youth ministers’ conference, Bremen’s education senator Sascha Karolin Aulepp (SPD), said: “We must ensure the staffing requirements in daycare centers and schools across the board in order to give all children access to early childhood education.” A national strategy is needed quickly. The federal and state governments should stipulate their shared financial responsibility.

Some have to pay for training

In order to attract enough educators, Aulepp continued to demand that training be paid across the board. To this end, the so-called practice-integrated training that already exists in some countries should be further disseminated. Here, young people can – analogous to dual training in business – be trained to become daycare educators with a practical and school component.

Paus complained that there are still schools in which educators have to pay school fees. In addition to remunerated, practice-integrated training models, she also campaigned for support for retraining.

However, the chances of success for Paus and the family politicians in their demands for money from the Federal Ministry of Finance in the budget negotiations for 2025 are unclear. Paus did not want to say how much she would like Lindner to pay for it. “You know, we’re currently in budget negotiations.” Aulepp referred to the great need: “That’s why we can’t afford to save money at this point.”

Federal Finance Minister Lindner recently expressed new doubts about the plans for another Paus project, basic child welfare. One of Lindner’s arguments: The best levers against child poverty are not social transfers, but rather daycare places and better support. Such goals are also the focus of the almost 50 recommendations that Paus and Aulepp have now formulated with other experts in an “overall strategy”.

Up to 90,000 educators are missing

The Green Party and SPD ministers warned of a lack of 50,000 to 90,000 skilled workers in Germany’s daycare centers by 2030. Child day care has recorded an increase in the past few years to over 840,000 employees. The shortage is increasing particularly in western Germany; in the east there is more potential for skilled workers in this area, said Paus.

Paus also referred to “significant differences in quality” that still exist regionally in the daycare sector. The many foreign applicants are positive, also for looking after children whose German is not yet good. Paus and Aulepp also say that non-formal skills, such as those gained from working in sports clubs or youth welfare facilities, should be increasingly recognized among prospective educators.

Source: Stern

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