07.07.2022, Berlin: Neu verbeamtete Lehrkräfte halten am Festakt zur Verbeamtung von neu eingestellten Lehrkräften ihre Urkunde in der Hand. Die rot-rot-grüne Koalition hatte beschlossen, nach vielen Jahren Pause wieder in die Verbeamtung einzusteigen. Foto: Fabian Sommer/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Laura Krüger can’t really believe it yet. But there it is, in black and white: “In the name of the Senate of Berlin, I appoint Laura Kröger (…), Astrid-Sabine Busse, with reference to the civil service on probation”. The certificate, signed by the Social Democratic Senator for Education, is in a folder with a red and white cord in front of her on a bar table. “I’m just happy,” she says.

In fact, the deed is a historical document. Krüger, 25 years old, is one of the first teachers to be given civil servant status in Berlin since 2004. On Thursday, around 220 other teachers received their civil service certificates and swore their oath of office in the “Station 5” event hall in Kreuzberg.

The turning point this moment is for the state of Berlin was also made clear by the scale of the event. The education administration had invited to a “ceremony” with music, dance and artistry, which the Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) did not want to miss. Most of the new officers came in formal attire. Sparkling wine was served. At 13 tables (one for each district plus one for vocational schools), the future teachers received their certificates and were thus officially appointed civil servants.

“That made it easier for me to decide to stay here,” says Vincent Eichstädt shortly after his appointment. In the new school year he will take on a third class at a special needs school. “I live in Reinickendorf, so I was already toying with the idea of ​​becoming a civil servant in Brandenburg and staying in Berlin.” For Eichstädt, it is the late correction of a mistake that cost Berlin many teachers.

For a long time, Berlin was the only federal state in Germany that no longer employed teachers as civil servants. The civil servants were abolished by the red-red coalition at the insistence of the then governing mayor Klaus Wowereit. How many teachers Berlin lost as a result can only be guessed at. It is clear that thousands of trained teachers have been missing for years. In order to keep the schools from collapsing, numerous career changers without any pedagogical training were recruited. Nevertheless, around 1000 apprenticeship positions will remain vacant in the coming school year, estimates Senator for Education Busse.

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“This is a very special day for you,” said Franziska Giffey in a speech to the teachers, “but also for the state government.” She still remembers well how, as district mayor, she said goodbye to many trainee teachers in Brandenburg. With the civil servant status, the state is “helping to reduce the shortage of teachers.” Senator for Education Busse, herself a civil servant in 1984, emphasized that the federal states are now finally on an equal footing in the labor market. The country felt the Berlin special way “painfully”.

Not everyone is happy with this decision. The Education and Science Union (GEW), which eagerly campaigned for its organization in front of the venue in Kreuzberg (which the new officials are not allowed to join, however), still has many unanswered questions. “There is still no clarity as to the criteria according to which the approximately 20,000 employed teachers should be made official,” said GEW board member Udo Mertens.

Vincent Eichstädt didn’t want to let all this spoil his mood. At 3:26 p.m., he rose from his seat, raised his right hand and spoke with the teachers: “I swear that I will hold my office in accordance with the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany and the Constitution of Berlin in accordance with the laws for the public good and will conscientiously fulfill my official duties.” Since Thursday, Berlin has had around 220 more teachers, who will probably not be turning their backs on the country anytime soon.