Corona and teacher shortage: Ministers of Education insist on further help from the federal government

Status: 06/24/2022 2:27 p.m

The consequences of the school closures as a result of the pandemic are still being felt. At their conference, the Ministers of Education urged the federal government to extend the catch-up program for students and to inject more money.

The state ministers of education have called on the federal government to extend the Corona catch-up program for schoolchildren. At the end of her conference (KMK) she called for a continuation until the end of the school year 2023/2024. In addition to the one billion euros already approved, a further subsidy of 500 million euros is necessary.

“In our view, the extension and increase of this program is essential,” said Hamburg’s education senator Ties Rabe. The Hessian Minister of Education Alexander Lorz justified the demand for an extension with long-term effects: “Six weeks of school closures throw the children back significantly more than six weeks”. That’s why you need a lot more time and staying power.

Is the measure sufficient?

The federal government launched the “Catching up after Corona for children and young people” program in 2021. It consists of two pillars: Around one billion euros is available for learning support programs, another billion for increasing social projects for children, young people and families. The program is intended to help cushion the consequences of school closures during the corona pandemic, such as educational deficits and mental health problems.

Actually, the measure runs until the end of the next school year. In the opinion of Hamburg’s Senator for Education, Rabe, the program is far from sufficient. At their meeting, the Ministers of Education urged the federal and state governments to jointly develop subsequent measures to overcome learning deficits and educational disadvantages and to ensure their funding.

cancellation of school closures

The KMK also reiterated its stance that schools must remain open during the pandemic. Should the pandemic intensify again, possible protective measures will be decided “with a sense of proportion”, said the President of the KMK, Karin Prien.

The conference complained that school closures in recent years have had serious effects on the mental and physical health and learning success of children and young people. The federal and state governments must work together quickly on measures to overcome learning deficits.

Plans to counter teacher shortages

Another subject of the consultations was the tense staffing situation in the education sector, which is being exacerbated by the fact that around 140,000 Ukrainian children and young people are now registered at schools. Prien warned that it was now necessary to expand the capacities for teaching German as a second language. In your federal state alone, however, 250 additional teachers would be needed for this subject.

Prien explained that recommendations for teacher training and recruitment should now be drawn up. It should not only be thought in terms of individual election periods, but the development of education must be thought of ten or 20 years into the future.

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