Education crisis: Launch of billion-dollar funding program for schools

Education crisis: Launch of billion-dollar funding program for schools

An extra 20 billion euros for 4,000 schools in the country to compensate for educational deficits – the so-called Start-Up Opportunities Programme is the central educational policy project of the traffic light coalition and can now come into effect.

With their signatures, Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) and the President of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany, Christine Streichert-Clivot (SPD), gave the official starting signal for the most important educational policy project of the traffic light coalition on Tuesday in Berlin. From next school year, the so-called Start-Up Opportunities program will initially provide around 2,000 and later 4,000 schools in socially difficult situations with special funding.

Over the next ten years, the federal and state governments plan to provide 20 billion euros for this purpose. Sixty percent of the funding is to go to primary schools, as educational studies have shown increasing deficits in reading, writing and arithmetic.

According to the plans, around one in ten schools in the country will become a Start-Up Opportunities School. The main factors are the proportion of poorer children and young people and the proportion of students with a migrant background. The specific selection is made by the federal states. The money is intended for construction work, but not for the renovation of gyms or toilets, which are necessary anyway, but for learning laboratories, multifunctional rooms, workshops, studios or for outdoor sports and recreational activities.

Additional staff

The Startchancen billions will also be invested in additional staff such as social workers, and the schools will be given a budget to use as they wish. The ambitious goal: by the end of the program’s term in 2034, the number of students at Startchancen schools who fail to meet the minimum standards in mathematics and German will be halved. It is also about promoting so-called socio-emotional competence, the ability to behave appropriately when dealing with other people and in different situations.

Since education in Germany is in the hands of the federal states and Berlin cannot simply give money, the federal and state governments have made so-called administrative agreements that regulate the precise distribution and use of funds. These agreements have now been signed by all federal states. Stark-Watzinger and Streichert-Clivot, who is also Saarland’s education minister, put the documents into effect with their signatures on Tuesday.

Both spoke of a milestone. It is the largest and longest-term education program in the history of the Federal Republic, said the Federal Minister of Education.

Source: Stern

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