The incidences are rising again, but the line of the Conference of Ministers of Education (KMK) remains the same as in the past Corona waves. The aim is “the greatest possible normality in the 2022/23 school year”.
At their current meeting, which ended on Friday in Berlin, it was agreed “to start the coming school year in regular school operations and in the regained normality,” as KMK President Karin Prien (CDU) explained.
The school closures “tore deep gaps in education,” said Hamburg’s school senator Ties Rabe, spokesman for the SPD-governed countries. Therefore, it is important to avoid school closures. When asked by the Tagesspiegel, there are no plans for renewed online lessons.
Of course, however, one would keep an eye on the infection dynamics “and decide with a sense of proportion on the reintroduction of protective measures” – such as wearing masks in class – emphasized Prien.
One focus in the new school year must be to provide intensive support for children and young people with learning deficits, said Ties Rabe. But the “catch-up program after Corona” financed by the federal government with two billion euros for funding offers and socio-educational projects will expire at the end of 2022.
Because the learning gaps, especially among socially and educationally disadvantaged students, are far from being balanced, the KMK is demanding an additional 500 million euros from the federal government for an extension.
As a continuation of the ad hoc measures, the “starting opportunities” announced in the coalition agreement of the traffic light must also be started quickly, demanded Rabe. This is intended to make “more than 4000 general and vocational schools with a high proportion of socially disadvantaged students” modern, climate-friendly and barrier-free, as well as to receive a “contemporary learning environment and creative laboratories”.
However, in many places there was already a lack of teachers to fully implement the catch-up program, it said. In addition, there is the burden on schools nationwide from 140,000 additional students from Ukraine, who are to be admitted from the welcome classes to regular classes as soon as possible.
7,000 new full-time jobs would be needed just to look after them. The KMK confirmed that the children and young people should be integrated into the local school system and that German as the language of education should be in the foreground.
Ukrainian lessons and cultural offerings in the native language are therefore of secondary importance from the KMK’s point of view: Wherever possible, the lessons can also retain such elements on a voluntary basis and (online) lessons based on the Ukrainian curriculum are a private matter.
Compulsory schooling in Germany for refugees under the age of 16 was emphasized. According to dpa, the number of students who have not yet arrived in the school system is estimated at 100,000. In Hamburg, 4,500 newcomers would be taught and 700 families who have not previously registered their children at any school have now received written invitations, Rabe said.
When it comes to the shortage of teachers, which was the focus of the National Education Report, “there should no longer be any taboos,” emphasized Prien. Consideration is being given to “how we can retain teachers from Ukraine in the long term”, the question also arises for other countries of origin. Another way – in addition to more student teachers and better study conditions – is multi-professional teams in which social workers, for example, relieve the teachers even more.